The city of Santa Clarita’s jobless rate of 5.1 percent was just slightly higher than the countywide figure for the month of July, according to Employment Development Department data released Friday.
The total number of jobs increased by 1.1 percent countywide, or by 48,600 jobs, with leisure and hospitality employment receiving the most gains, divided between arts, entertainment and recreation. The leisure and hospitality sector grew by about 6,400 jobs, while performing arts, spectator sports and food services increased by 28,500 new jobs.
In Santa Clarita alone, a focus on the arts has been a major influence on those jobs, according to Evan Thomason, economic development associate with the city.
“Filming continues to be a targeted industry sector and has been very strong in the last several years,” Thomason said. “Programs, such as the Santa Clarita Film Incentive Program and film friendly practices have helped both attract and retain filming in the area.”
Santa Clarita’s 5.1 percent figure is still what is considered “full employment,” or what economists have historically considered the lowest possible level of unemployment that won’t lead to inflation, according to Bloomberg. That figures is approximately 5 percent. The county’s rate of 4.5 percent unemployment was the same in June and July.
Santa Clarita employment numbers boast 94,300 workers, while the number of unemployed workers sits at 5,100 people. Fields which took a hit included services in health, education, science, administrative, waste and technical, all of which contributed to a decrease in 47,500 jobs in Los Angeles County.
While employers saw an increase in the civilian labor force, employers are struggling to find workers with the right skills, said Holly Schroeder, president and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Center.
“The concern is that employers have a hard time finding workers,” she said. “People see that this is a perpetual condition that brings people back.”
After attending a conference for the 2018 Santa Clarita Valley Economic Outlook, held by SCVEDC, it appears as though the positive employment numbers are expected to continue, said Councilman Bob Kellar.
“The truth of the matter is, I know we’re a growing community,” he said. “People come here and seek out employment. We’ve been managed very, very well, and by the community.”
As time goes on, the numbers will continue to fluctuate, a testament to city dynamics, he added.
In order to further expand opportunities, employers are looking to work on new ways to hire people, Schroeder said. This includes working with the Mayor’s Committee for Employment of Individuals with Disabilities, as well as adjusting to the steady rise in the minimum wage.
“That will have consequences across the region,” she said.