L.A. County’s unemployment rate shot up to 12.4 percent in July from 12 percent in June as budget cuts took their toll on government payrolls and more people were looking for work, according to state figures released Friday.
In more bad news, the state Employment Development Department reported the county lost about 30,000 jobs in July, largely due to local government cutbacks and seasonal layoffs at area schools.
As bad as these figures are, they are still better than a year ago, when the county’s unemployment rate stood at 12.7 percent and 15,000 fewer people had payroll jobs.
“There’s progress here, but it’s very slow and only apparent when you step back and look at the trend over time,” said Nancy Sidhu, chief economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
But L.A. County still fared worse than the state, where the unemployment rate rose to 12 percent in July from 11.8 percent in June. The national unemployment rate in July was 9.1 percent.
Within L.A. County, the pain was most acute in the two largest cities, Los Angeles and Long Beach. The unemployment rates in both cities shot up a full percentage point in July to 14.6 percent.
Local government budget cuts hit with full force in July as the new fiscal year began. Countywide, local governments cut nearly 24,000 jobs from their payrolls, with K-12 education shedding another 24,000 jobs as schools let out for summer break.
No other industry was able to take up the slack; indeed the only industries registering any sizeable gains were retail trade and entertainment; each gained about 2,000 jobs.
Adjusting for seasonal factors, the county actually gained about 10,000 jobs in July, according to figures released Friday from Los Angeles-based Beacon Economics.
In a new set of figures released by the EDD that track help wanted ads, only about 120,000 job ads were posted in July, while the number of unemployed rose to more than 600,000. The occupations reporting the most open positions were web developers and registered nurses, with 3,500 positions each, followed by retail salespersons at 2,760.
Over the last 12 months, private education, health care and the hospitality sector were the star performers, each gaining between 7,000 and 8,000 jobs. All three of these sectors have steadily added jobs since the recession officially ended two years ago.
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