Santa Clarita unemployment down, indicating ‘strong economy’

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Santa Clarita’s unemployment rate dipped in May to 3.8%, with a similar trend occurring in Los Angeles County, an indicator of a continued strong economy, city officials said. 

The unemployment rate, which is based on a monthly household survey, across the city fell from a revised 4.8% in May 2018, according to Jason Crawford, economic development and marketing manager for the city. 

“This translates to roughly 200 more people employed this year than May last year,” he said. 

With a jobless rate of 3.8%, Santa Clarita is considered fully employed under U.S. Federal Reserve economists’ definition, which is an unemployment rate between 4.1% and 4.7%, according to Bloomberg. 

“This is good news,” Crawford said. “We’ve been in a strong economy in Santa Clarita, and this is another example of that.” 

Of the 112,400-person labor force in May this year, 108,100 were employed, and 4,300 were not, a drop from the 4,500 total in 2018, according to data from the state Economic Development Department. 

Although it’s difficult to say what the unemployment rate will be next month, Crawford said the number could “rise a little bit in the summertime because of a number of factors, including teachers not being on the books anymore and students graduating college and entering the job force.” 

“We get a better sense of (the) changes typically when we compare it year-over-year rather than month-over-month,” he added. “But, we definitely see a trend of being better year-over-year.”

An increase in job creation across the Santa Clarita Valley is attributed to construction activity due to a number of new projects that have broken ground, as well as a rise in leisure and hospitality, according to the 2019 Santa Clarita Valley Economic Outlook report by the California Economic Forecast.  

The report adds that the local economy is still creating jobs, and Santa Claritans are filling most of those jobs, “but the job market couldn’t quite absorb everyone who began a job search (in 2018). The same trend was observed across all of Los Angeles County, with the unemployment rate rising from 4.3% in April to 4.9% by the end of the year.” 

But by May this year, the unemployment rate in the county dropped slightly to 4.5% from 4.6% in April, according to a state Employment Development Department report released June 21. 

The county’s 4.5% unemployment rate, which has ranged between 4.6% and 4.7% for most of the past year, remained higher than the statewide average of 4.2% and the national average of 3.6%. 

Much like in Santa Clarita, the payroll job count in the county rose in the leisure and hospitality sector “in anticipation of the summer months” with the addition of 9,400 jobs over the month, the report said.

Industries such as employment services went up a net 4,600 jobs, construction rose by 2,200 jobs and government up by 1,100 jobs. Other sectors include arts, entertainment and recreation (up 5,000) and accommodation and food services (up 4,400). 

By the start of 2020, it may be time to begin preparing for the next recession, according to the Economic Outlook report, adding, “The unemployment rate typically rises during recessions, and any associated labor market weakness could contribute to a higher unemployment rate.” 

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