Unemployment inched up in L.A. County in April while the local job market was flat, according to state figures released Friday.
As the housing downturn, rising commodities prices and the credit crunch continue to take their toll on the local economy, the unemployment rate rose to 5.9 percent in April from a revised 5.8 percent in March, according to figures from the state Employment Development Department. A slight drop in the number of people looking for work helped keep the increase in the unemployment rate in check.
However, the unemployment rate has jumped a full point from 4.9 percent from last year.
Meanwhile, the number of non-farm payroll jobs in L.A. County was stable from March and from year-ago levels. Total non-farm employment increased by 700 jobs from March to 4.11 million jobs in April and by 2,200 jobs from April 2007 levels.
Statewide, it was a similar picture, as the unemployment rate remained steady at 6.2 percent and non-farm payroll employment of 15.1 million dropped by 800 jobs.
“Companies are living with the status quo as much as they can,” said Christa Shapiro, regional vice president for Adecco Staffing, a Swiss-based temporary employment company. “People aren’t sure whether this slowdown will be long-lasting, so most companies aren’t slashing payrolls, though they aren’t hiring much either. Also, the slowdown hasn’t hit all sectors.”
Gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (3,200 jobs) and the educational and health services sector (1,700 jobs) were offset by drops in professional and business services (down 1,500 jobs) and motion picture and sound recording (down 1,100 jobs).
Over the past year, health care and social assistance jobs jumped by nearly 10,000 jobs, or 2.7 percent. That was followed by an 8,600 increase in state and local government payrolls, despite looming budget deficits.
Construction employment tumbled by 10,000 jobs, or 6.5 percent, over the past 12 months. The financial sector lost 7,000 jobs, or about 3 percent.