Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire got a healthy bump from holiday hiring last month and both regions saw their unemployment rates drop.
California’s final employment report for the year shows that L.A. County added 19,400 jobs in November, and the county’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent. That was down from 4.7 percent in October and well below the year-ago rate of 5.1 percent, according to the state Employment Development Department.
Retail helped fuel the hiring
Trade, transportation and utilities led the way in November with 16,600 new jobs. Retail accounted for the lion’s share of that with a seasonal increase of 14,100 jobs. Educational and health services added 3,700 jobs and additional gains were seen in government (2,300), the financial sector (1,100) and manufacturing (200).
Leisure and hospitality posted the biggest decline with a loss of 1,600 jobs. Arts, entertainment and recreation also shed 2,900 positions.
Year over year, L.A. County added 36,900 jobs in November, landing slightly below the previous month’s annual gain of 40,400.
Target adds 8,000 seasonal workers in LA area
There’s no doubt that retailers have bulked up their staffing for this year’s holiday season. In October, Target announced plans to hire 8,000 seasonal workers for its Los Angeles-area stores. Others, including Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, Walmart and Toys R Us, have also boosted their local hiring.
Walmart took a slightly different tack. The company opted to first give its employees the chance to work extra hours during this holiday season instead of offering those hours to seasonal workers.
Judith McKenna, the mega retailer’s chief operating officer, explained it this way: “These extra hours will help staff traditional roles like cashier and stocker, and newly created technology-empowered positions such as personal shoppers and pickup associates,” McKenna said in a statement. “This is the same approach we took last year, and we heard great feedback from our customers and associates.”
Inland Empire outpaces LA County
The Inland Empire outpaced L.A. County in November with the addition of 23,800 new jobs, and the two-county region saw its unemployment rate drop to 4.1 percent, down from 4.8 percent in October and 5.4 percent a year earlier.
Leisure and hospitality added 5,200 jobs and six other industries also posted increases, including professional and business services (2,800), government (2,400) and construction (600).
Manufacturing posted the region’s only loss with a decline of 600 jobs.
The Inland Empire added 46,800 jobs over the year, up from the previous annual increase of 42,800 jobs that were reported in October. Construction saw the biggest yearly gain of 14,700 jobs and that didn’t surprise regional economist John Husing.
“That has been going on all year,” he said. “It’s primarily been in three areas — large facilities, infrastructure for freeways and roadways and some residential. In September we had 24 million square feet of industrial space under construction.”
EDD figures show that California added 47,400 jobs in November, a number that reflects all of the employment gains and losses throughout the state. California ranked second in annual growth with 288,300 jobs added. Texas topped the list with 330,600 jobs added over the past 12 months. Florida landed in third place with 195,000 and New York followed with 116,800.