LA County, Inland Empire lead the state in annual job gains

The sky is filled with cranes at the site of new buildings going up along Figueroa Street across from Staples Center and LA Live. ( Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)



Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire led California in yearly job gains in August, but their monthly results were sharply divided, according to seasonally adjusted figures released Friday by Beacon Economics.

L.A. County ranked first with 38,400 jobs added over the past 12 months at a rate of 0.9 percent. The Inland Empire was close behind with 33,600 jobs added at a rate of 2.4 percent.

But there the similarity ended.

Monthly employment volatility

L.A. County added 7,500 jobs in August and the two-county Inland Empire shed 100 jobs.

Economist Robert Kleinhenz, executive director of economic research for Beacon Economics and the UC Riverside School of Business, chalked that up to the volatility that sometimes occurs in labor markets over a short one-month span.

“I don’t put too much emphasis on the monthly numbers because they can have wide fluctuations,” he said. “And there’s a good chance that those numbers will be revised upward.”

Beacon’s employment figures for L.A. County and the Inland Empire differ from those released by the state Employment Development Department in that they are seasonally adjusted. They take into account seasonal factors that can cause fluctuations in the numbers, such as holidays, weather and other elements.

Rising jobless rates

Both regions saw an uptick in their unemployment rates.

L.A. County’s jobless rate jumped to 4.8 percent in August compared with 4.5 percent the previous month, but that was down from the year-ago rate of 5.2 percent, the EDD reported.

The Inland Empire’s unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in August, up from 6.1 percent in July but down from 6.4 percent a year ago.

Beacon’s numbers show that L.A. County’s biggest employment boost for August came in health care, which added 5,400 jobs. That was followed by government positions (4,900) and other services (2,600), which includes everything from nonprofits to auto repair and laundry services.

Retail added 1,500 jobs, construction 1,300 and manufacturing boosted its payrolls by 600 jobs.

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