[Source: Los Angeles Daily News] Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire saw heavy job losses in January following the meager gains that were posted in December, but California still managed to add nearly 10,000 jobs, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.
L.A. County employers shed 78,700 jobs in January, fueled primarily by a steep decline in seasonal retail positions that were eliminated at the end of the holiday shopping season.
That came in stark contrast to December’s gain of 8,100 jobs. But the region’s unemployment rate dipped to 4.9 percent in January, down from 5.1 percent in December and 5.6 percent a year earlier.
Kimberly Ritter-Martinez, an economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., said the drop-off of seasonal holiday employment is typical for January.
“It’s been pretty consistent,” she said. “It happened in 2016 with 87,000 jobs lost and in 2013 we lost 81,000 jobs.”
The county’s trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 28,800 jobs in January and additional declines were seen in leisure and hospitality (down 19,000 jobs), information (down 7,700), construction (down 4,700) and manufacturing (down 4,000), among others.
Financial activities was the only industry to show an increase over the month with 900 new jobs.
L.A. County added 62,600 jobs over the year at a rate of 1.5 percent. That outpaced December’s year-over-year gain of 58,600 jobs.
LA County’s manufacturing sector continues to shed jobs
Educational and health services saw the biggest increase over the year with 31,300 new jobs. But manufacturing — an industry that continues to shed jobs due to downsizing, outsourcing and automation — lost 8,400 jobs.
Still, some manufacturing firms are holding their own.
J&R Steel & Welding, a Tarzana-based business that specializes in everything from custom wrought iron work for gates and railings to structural steel supports and glass glazing, has seen a steady increase in recent years, according to Cody Cohen, the company’s vice president.
“We do a lot of R&D and we also do 3D printing for some in-house stuff,” he said. “There’s more competition out there than you might think — but things are good.”
J&R may be doing well but more manufacturing cuts are in the cards, according to Ritter-Martinez.
We just published a report that predicts that county will lose 1,400 manufacturing jobs this year,” she said. “But 2018 could be flat so it might be bottoming out.”
Inland Empire loses nearly 20,000 jobs in January
The Inland Empire weathered a decline of 19,900 jobs in January, a sharp contrast to the 9,600 that were added the previous month. The region’s jobless rate also shot up to 5.6 percent from 5.1 percent in December but it still landed below the year-ago rate of 5.9 percent.
Like L.A. County, the Inland Empire’s biggest decline for January came in trade, transportation and utilities, which lost 16,500 jobs. Those losses were also attributed largely to seasonal cuts in retail trade. Seven other industries posted job losses, including professional and business services (down 2,200) and construction (down 700).
The two-county region’s government sector saw the biggest overall gain with the addition of 1,300 jobs.
The Inland Empire added 44,100 jobs over the year at a rate of 3.2 percent. That eclipsed December’s year-over-year uptick of 40,800 jobs.
The region saw annual growth in trade, transportation and utilities and seven other industries, including construction (up 6,200 jobs) and manufacturing (up 2,600).
Tiny homebuilder looks to target homeless veterans
Business has been sluggish for Adventure Cabins, a San Bernardino business that builds tiny homes that range from 100 to 400 square feet. But Travis Saenz, who co-owns the business along with his father Leroy, said they’re looking to tweak their business model.
“We’ve built about seven homes over the last three years so it’s been kind of slow,” he said. “What we’d like to do is house homeless vets. We’ve been in touch with the San Bernardino Economic Development Department and hopefully we’ll hear something as to what could happen. And there might be some government grant money for us.”
California adds jobs, lowers jobless rate
On a larger scale, California added 9,700 jobs in January — more than double the 4,400 that were added in December. The Golden State’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent compared with 5.2 percent in December and 5.7 percent a year earlier.
Southern California received some good news recently when the Home Depot and Lowe’s home improvement chains announced that they are ramping up hiring for the spring season, their busiest time of the year.
Home Depot reported Thursday that it will be hiring 2,000 permanent part-time and seasonal employees at 66 stores throughout the Southland, and Lowe’s announced last month that it plans to hire 662 seasonal workers in Southern California.
Potential effects of the Trump administration
Ritter-Martinez said there are uncertainties surrounding the Trump administration’s impact on business in Southern California.
“His intent to reduce regulations and corporate taxes should encourage business investment and that would help the economy grow,” she said. “But we’re concerned about his trade restrictions. That could impact jobs at our ports.”
Source: Los Angeles Daily News
March 3, 2017