The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today non-farm payroll employment continued to trend up in October with the addition of 80,000 jobs, but the national unemployment rate was little changed from 9.1 to 9.0 percent.
“Given what we’ve been through the past couple of years this almost passes for a good report,” said Kimberly Ritter, Economist for The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.
Breaking the October numbers down, Ritter says the U.S. saw an increase of 104,000 jobs in the private sector, although that was countered by a loss of 24,000 jobs in the government sector.
“The good news is that jobs are coming from the private sector and that’s what we want to see,” Ritter said.
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The report indicates the labor markets do have forward momentum although it isn’t strong enough to put much of a dent in the unemployment rate.
“The labor market trends that we’re seeing point to weak job growth, but not recession,” said Ritter.
Nationally, the Information sector has declining job growth, but that’s not true for Los Angeles County.
“In L.A. County that’s actually been a job growth driver because that’s where motion picture and entertainment resides and that’s actually been the leading industry as far as creating jobs in LA County. We’ve also seen, as elsewhere, education and private education and health care continue to do well and our retail sector is doing fairly well.
She says there is some encouraging news to be gleaned from a closer look at the small decline in the national unemployment rate. Statistics show employment growth increased faster than the labor force.
“That means the unemployment rate dropped because people are getting jobs not because they’re dropping out of the labor force due to discouragement,” said Ritter.
According to the BLS there were 967,000 discouraged workers in October, a decrease of 252,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.
California is making progress on the jobs front according to Ritter. Sectors adding jobs basically fall along the national lines: Travel and tourism, entertainment, health care, and education. Construction is still a problem and the state and local governments have given up a lot of jobs.
“California is adding jobs, unfortunately the unemployment rate is still elevated and we don’t expect it to come down into single digits for at least another year, maybe a bit longer,” said Ritter.
For a more detailed look at the October U.S. Department of Labor report, click here.