Research

What did the most recent national employment numbers imply for Southern California?

By December 12, 2013 No Comments

LAEDC’s Kyser Center for Economic Research analyzed the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics Report and offers the following summary.  Highlights related to Southern California appear at the end of this summary.

November 2013 Summary of U.S. Labor Market Report
LAEDC KYSER CENTER FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH

“The labor market remains on solid ground in the aftermath of the government shutdown in October,” said LAEDC Chief Economist Robert Kleinhenz. “The unemployment rate fell to 7.0% in November, the lowest in five years, while wage and salary jobs posted a steady increase, with job gains occurring across all the industries.”
“Year-to-year job gains continue in the industries that are important locally, including professional and business services, trade, transportation, and utilities, leisure and hospitality,” according to Kleinhenz. “Manufacturing employment was also up, with gains in computer and electronic products, metal and machinery production, and food industries, all of which have a sizable presence locally. Motion picture and sound recording registered a slight increase in November over October but was lower against last November’s figure, which was the strongest employment figure for all of last year.”

The U.S. Labor Market Report covering the national employment situation in November was better than expected with gains across all major private industry sectors including construction and manufacturing. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.0% while the average workweek edged up by 0.1 hour over the month to 34.5 hours and average hourly earnings rose by $0.04 per hour to $24.15.

The employer payroll survey reported that total nonfarm employment increased by 203,000 jobs in November.  Employment in the private sector expanded by 196,000 jobs, while government payrolls added 7,000 jobs.  Gains at the state and local levels of government of 8,000 and 6,000 jobs respectively were partially offset by a loss of 7,000 federal jobs.

There were also revisions to nonfarm job counts from the previous two months that resulted in an additional net gain of 8,000 jobs.  For the first 11 months of the year, the economy averaged 189,000 jobs added month-to-month, compared with an average of 183,000 per month for all of last year.

On a year-to-year (YTY) basis, U.S. employment expanded by 2.3 million jobs, an increase of 1.7%.  Since January 2010, the economy has added 7.4 million jobs, but still has some way to go in recovering the 8.68 million lost during the recession. Last month, every major private industry sector increased payrolls over the year to November.  In contrast, employment in the government sector declined by 22,000 jobs over the 12 months ending in November (-0.1%).

The unemployment rate (which is measured using a separate household survey), fell to 7.0% from 7.3% in October and was down from 7.8% a year ago.  The more comprehensive U-6 measure of unemployment, which includes discouraged workers, part-time workers who would like to work full time, and other categories of distressed workers, was 13.2%, down from 14.4% a year earlier.

The percentage of workers unemployed for more than six months increased over the month in November to 37.3% from 36.1% in October.  A year ago, 40.0% of unemployed workers were counted among the long-term unemployed. The labor force participation rate edged up slightly to 63.0%, partially offsetting the abnormally large decline in October.

The labor market remains on solid ground in the aftermath of the government shutdown in October.  The unemployment rate fell to the lowest in five years with wage and salary jobs posting steady increases.  Moreover, job gains continue in industries that are important locally including professional and business services; trade, transportation, and utilities; and leisure and hospitality.  Manufacturing employment was also up, with gains in computer and electronic products, metal and machinery production, and food industries, all of which have a sizeable presence locally.  Motion picture and sound recording registered a slight increase in November over October, but was lower against last November’s figure, which was the strongest employment figure for all of last year.

Highlights Related to the Southern California Economy
Comparing the US to state and local conditions, the national labor market has been adding wage and salary jobs at an average 1.6% year-to-year rate (January through November), compared with an average 1.7% gain in California and a 1.6% gain in Los Angeles County from January through October of this year.
Looking at sectors that are important locally:
• Nationally, in the motion picture and sound recording sector, there were 371,000 jobs in November, up from 370,600 in October but down 3.9% from 386,000 a year ago.
• Nationally, transportation & warehousing added 76,000 jobs, an increase of 1.7% YTY. Hopefully this bodes well for our local transportation and warehousing sector, which is down 0.6% YTD.
• Among the manufacturing sectors that are important to the local economy, computer and electronic products increased at the national level, along with fabricated metal products and metal machinery. Food manufacturing increased nationally, while apparel and textiles were down.

Source:  http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf