L.A.'s job market rebounded slightly in February from its January swoon, thanks largely to thousands of writers returning to their jobs after settling a bitter strike, according to state figures released Friday.
L.A. County's unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent in February from 5.7 percent in January, while the county added 30,400 non-farm payroll jobs during the month, the California Employment Development Department reported.
There were substantial job gains in the information sector, in education and health services and in professional and business services.
Statewide, the jobless rate fell to 5.7 percent in February from 5.9 percent in January, while non-farm payroll employment increased by 25,800 jobs, or 0.4 percent.
While the local jobs picture has improved since January, in the more closely watched year-over-year performance, L.A.'s unemployment rate last month was still higher than the 4.7 percent recorded in February 2007. And the county posted a 15,100 year-over-year decline in jobs, for a 0.4 percent drop. Much of that stemmed from a year-over-year loss of 14,700 jobs in motion picture and sound recording.
"Motion picture and television production is still acting as a brake on the overall local economy," said Jack Kyser, chief economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
Kyser said it's likely that many writers returned to their jobs after the state jobs survey was taken, so they would show up on the March employment rolls. But he also said it's possible some of the jobs lost due to the strike may represent permanent reductions as some television shows have been cancelled.
Manufacturing also showed weak performance over the past 12 months, losing 9,600 jobs, or 2.1 percent, with huge drops in furniture manufacturing as the housing market continues to tumble.
The troubles in the housing industry have also taken their toll on construction, which was down 8,400 jobs year-over-year, and the finance and insurance sector, which fell by 7,600 jobs.
The major bright spot remains leisure and hospitality, up 8,500 jobs on the year as the cheap dollar has drawn more tourists to the region.
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