8.19 million at work in Southern California – Daily News

on Jan22
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Southern California’s job market finished 2023 with record-high employment.

My trusty spreadsheet, filled with state job figures, found 8.19 million at work in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties in December – up 13,000 in a month – just off the local hiring average of 14,640 for December in 2015-19. November 2023 saw 46,300 employees added.

By the way, only three states have more workers than this region: Texas at 14.1 million, Florida at 9.8 million, and New York at 9.7 million.

Southern California bosses added 165,500 jobs in the past year – a growth rate of 2.1% that compares favorably to the previous 12 months’s 2.4% increase and the 2.2% average in 2015-19.

Yet regional joblessness increased. The four-county unemployment rate was 4.7% in December compared to 4.6% in the previous month, and 3.8% a year earlier. Joblessness averaged 4.1% in pre-pandemic 2018-19.

The 414,600 counted as officially out of work for December was down 2,200 in a month but up 71,600 in a year. The jobless ranks averaged 366,600 in pre-pandemic 2018-19 – 12% lower.

Regional differences

All three of the region’s metropolitan areas hit record-high job levels in December …

Los Angeles County: 4.72 million workers, after adding 5,300 in a month and growing by 95,800 in a year. Hiring averaged 12,340 for the month in 2015-19. Unemployment? 5% – same as a month earlier vs. 4.9% a year ago; and 4.6% average in 2018-19.

Orange County: Record-high 1.74 million workers, after adding 5,600 in a month and growing by 36,300 in a year. Hiring averaged 360 for the month in 2015-19. Unemployment? 3.8% – same as a month earlier vs. 3.4% a year ago; and 2.9% average in 2018-19.

Inland Empire: Record-high 1.72 million workers, after adding 2,100 in a month and growing by 33,400 in a year. Hiring averaged 1,940 for the month in 2015-19. Unemployment? 5.1% vs. 5% a month earlier; 4.4% a year ago; and 4.2% average in 2018-19.

Industry swings

The holiday sales rush helped retailing be December’s largest job creator in Southern California. Merchants had 780,900 workers – up 8,600 in a month and up 16,500 in a year.

Other job changes in key local business sectors, ranked by one-month change …

Education/health: 1.51 million workers – up 4,900 in a month and up 80,700 in a year.

Transport-Warehouse-Utility: 731,800 workers – up 2,900 in a month and up 7,800 in a year.

Professional-business services: 1.21 million workers – up 2,900 in a month and up 900 in a year.

Financial: 377,700 workers – up 1,100 in a month but down 3,400 in a year.

Leisure/hospitality: 972,700 workers – up 600 in a month and up 45,000 in a year.

Manufacturing: 572,900 workers – down 100 in a month and down 3,900 in a year.

Construction: 389,100 workers – down 2,000 in a month but up 19,100 in a year.

Information: 245,400 workers – down 2,100 in a month and down 22,100 in a year.

Government: 1.01 million workers – down 2,300 in a month but up 27,900 in a year.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at jlansner@scng.com



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