Declining local and county unemployment rates reported

First published in the September 25 print issue of the Chief of Burbank.

Burbank’s unemployment last month registered the lowest rate this year, according to recently released data, reflecting a steeper drop than that seen in the city, state and county in recent months.
The local rate fell to 10.8% in August from 12% in July, according to preliminary data from the California Employment Development Department, the largest month-over-month drop reported for the city since February. The drop reflects a decrease in the estimated number of unemployed Burbank residents to 6,300 in August from 7,100 a month earlier. However, the local workforce – representing residents who are employed or unemployed but looking for work – has shrunk by 1,300 people. The number of active citizens has decreased by 500.
Burbank’s unemployment rate has fluctuated somewhat since February, after falling sharply from its May 2020 peak of 23.9% and another increase in January 2021 amid a terrible wave of COVID-19. The rate has hovered around 11% or 12% for most of this year; its lowest score in 2021 before last month was 11.1% in February.
Recent changes in the local unemployment rate have been influenced by the end of the last school year and the start of the current school year; ESD does not adjust city-level data for seasonal changes in employment. Los Angeles County’s rate, along with California’s, has also remained relatively stable despite Gavin Newsom’s lifting of capacity limits and numerous other trade restrictions.
Despite improvements, Burbank’s unemployment rate last month was still significantly higher than it was before the pandemic (5.1% in February 2020), although it represents a substantial improvement over the August 2020 mark – 18.3%.
LA County unemployment fell a little slower, with the unadjusted rate falling to about 9.7% in August from 10.2% in July, a figure that had remained the same for three months, reflecting more than 485,000 residents who remained without work. The county’s unemployment rate was 4.6% in February 2020 and 16.8% in August 2020.
The state’s unemployment rate was also stubborn, with the unadjusted figure falling to 7.5% in August from 7.9% in July. This rate was 3.9% in February 2020 and 12.3% in August 2020.
The national unemployment rate last month was 5.2%, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The EDD reported that the government sector gained the most jobs of any field in LA County between July and August, which the department said is likely due to the resumption of classes. News jobs, including film and sound recording roles, have also seen an increase. The retail sector saw a slight decline, by about half a percentage point, in its estimate of employment.
The 104,300 non-farm jobs that California won in August accounted for 44% of the country’s overall payroll increases that month, according to the EDD.
“These 104,300 new jobs, the fifth time this year of six-figure job growth, represent new paychecks for Californians and new salaried employees for businesses,” Newsom said in a statement. “We still have work to do to recoup the jobs lost to the pandemic, but it promises progress for California’s economic recovery. “
Despite optimism surrounding the state’s job gains, economists have warned that the Delta variant of the coronavirus makes the near future of California’s unemployment rate uncertain. Transmission of the virus, although apparently declining, has remained high, with more than 40% of the state still not fully immunized.

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