L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent in July, its lowest level in nearly 10 years, despite a sharp seasonal drop in employer payrolls, state figures released Friday show.
The California Employment Development Department reported the unemployment rate was down from 4.9 percent in June and 6.6 percent a year ago. The statewide figure was 5.5 percent in July.
For the first time in at least 10 years, the county’s July unemployment rate was lower than the national rate of 4.9 percent. Just five years ago last month, the county unemployment rate topped out at 13 percent, four whole percentage points above the national average.
That was the extent of the good news last month as the number of people on employer payrolls in Los Angeles County plunged by 56,000. Seasonal drops in education - mostly due to temporary and substitute teaching positions disappearing as schools were on summer recess - accounted for the lion’s share of this drop as public and private schools shed 43,000 jobs. When adjusted for this and other seasonal factors, the job drop was only about 8,000.
The other sector reporting major job losses was film and television production, which reported a seasonal drop of 5,000 jobs as many television shows were on summer hiatus. Film and television employment was up 4,500 jobs from July of last year.
Manufacturing employment rose by 1,600 jobs in July, though that’s likely a blip in the sector’s longer-term decline.
Over the past 12 months, the county gained 76,000 payroll jobs for a gain of 1.8 percent. The biggest gainers were private education and professional/business services.
Public policy and energy reporter Howard Fine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.