The Economic Data Global Express (e-EDGE)

v.7 n.46      Released Nov.17, 2003

Produced by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation as a public service to the global community.


     California's unemployment rate was 6.6% in October, up a tad from a revised 6.5% in September.  The state's jobless rate was 6.8% in October 2002.  Over the past year, California has fared about the same as the U.S.:  the nation's unemployment rate also increased by 0.2 percentage points from 5.8% to 6.0% in September 2003.  (These figures are all adjusted to eliminate normal seasonal variation.)
     Jobless rates at the county level are not seasonally adjusted.  Unemployment rates in Southern California changed little in October.  Los Angeles County's jobless rate was 6.8% last month, down from the September reading of 6.9%.  Unemployment rates were essentially unchanged over the month in Orange County (at 3.7%), San Bernardino and Ventura counties (5.6%), and Riverside County (at 6.4%).  Jobless rates in four of the five counties were lower than last October.  The rate in Los Angeles County was up by 0.3 percentage points.  Meanwhile Orange County's rate was down over the year by 0.6 percentage points, Riverside County was down by 0.5 percentage points, San Bernardino County was down by 0.4 percentage points, and Ventura County was off by 0.2 percentage points.  San Diego's unemployment rate was 4.2% in October, the same as in September and down by 0.4 percentage points from October 2002.
     At 6.0%, the Southern California (5-county) jobless rate was equal to last year's reading.  In the Bay Area, October's (combined 9-county) unemployment rate was 5.9%, 0.8 percentage points below the October 2002 mark of 6.7% and the first reading below 6.0% since December 2001.  Jobless rates have dropped substantially in the bigger counties.  Santa Clara County (which includes San Jose) still has the highest rate in the area.  Last month's was 7.6%, which was well down (by 1.3 percentage points) from the year-ago rate of 8.9%.  San Francisco and Alameda counties registered jobless rates of 6.1% and 6.4% respectively last month.  San Francisco County's rate was 1.3 percentage points below last year, and Alameda County's rate was down by 0.6 percentage points.
     Month-to-month progress in California's labor market has been very slow.  However, the annual improvements finally showing up in the Bay Area suggest we're on the road (or at least the on-ramp) to recovery in the state's labor market.  (Nancy D. Sidhu)


     The October jobs report for the state was good news on the surface.  The number of seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs increased by 34,800 from September to October, the first gain since June.  However, 30,800 of the jobs were in the "trade, transportation & utilities" super-sector, which reflected the hiring of replacement workers in anticipation of a grocery strike.  (Going to the unadjusted numbers for some detail reveals that grocery stores added 22,000 workers from September to October.)  On a year over year basis, the adjusted nonfarm jobs number was down by 32,900.
     Looking at the unadjusted data, manufacturing employment continued to slide, dropping by 44,300 jobs over the year.  The government sector was also down by 38,700 jobs, with the bulk of the pain in local government (-32,000 jobs).  Industries adding jobs over the year were leisure & hospitality (+23,800), construction (+21,700), and health services (+16,300).  Employment services (temporary help) was also in an uptrend, adding jobs over both the month and year.
     The divergence between the establishment survey (nonfarm employment) and the household surveyed continued in evidence during October with the latter recording a year-to-year increase of 236,700 jobs for the state.
     Around Southern California, Los Angeles County's nonfarm employment slipped by 32,400 jobs over the year, with manufacturing down by 27,300 jobs and government off by 13,900.  Industries adding jobs over the year were retail (+9,600, of which 8,700 were in grocery stores), health services (+5,200 jobs) and leisure & hospitality (+4,800 jobs).  Motion picture production was down by 6,400 jobs over the year, but independent artists, writers & performers was up by 1,000 jobs (what are they doing?  Writing scripts for production elsewhere?).
     Orange County's nonfarm employment eased by 1,900 jobs over the year, with manufacturing off by 4,200 jobs and government down by 3,500.  Year-to-year increases came in professional business services (+3,800 jobs), administration (+3,400) and health services (+2,400 jobs).  The Riverside-San Bernardino area recorded a 22,400 job gain during October, the best year-to-year gain since last February.  Of note was the continued improvement in manufacturing, up by 2,500 jobs.  Other gainers were retail (+8,800 jobs) and construction (+6,700).
     San Diego County chipped in with a 4,600 job gain over the year in October.  The largest increases were in retail (+5,300 jobs) and construction (+4,800 jobs).  The County's manufacturing sector eased down by 1,900 jobs, with the computer & electronic products component moving sideways.  The news from Ventura County was somewhat less pleasant in October, with the loss of 6,300 nonfarm jobs over the year.  About the only good news was in retail, up by 2,000 jobs over the year, of which 1,200 were at food stores.
     The October job news from the Bay Area was mixed.  The Oakland metro area saw a decline of 10,000 nonfarm jobs over the year, the largest such loss this year.  The San Francisco metro area lost only 12,300 jobs, the smallest loss in quite some time.  The San Jose area's nonfarm employment declined by 37,700 jobs over the year, again the smallest loss in months.  (Jack Kyser)
California data:$pr.txt
LA County data:$pr.txt
Orange County data:$pr.txt
Riverside-San Bernardino data:$pr.txt
Ventura County data:$pr.txt


     The Producer Price Index (PPI) for finished goods rose by 0.8% last month, following a 0.3% increase in September.  This is the largest monthly increase since the 1.4% advance in March.  Food prices rose by 2.2% in October, thanks mainly to a 18.3% increase in beef and veal prices.  Energy prices fell by 0.1%, following a 0.1% increase in September.  Excluding food and energy prices, the core finished goods index rose by 0.5%, after being unchanged in September.  Compared to a year ago, the total finished goods index was up by 3.4%.  Beef and veal prices were 52.6% higher than a year ago.
     The PPI for intermediate goods rose by 0.4% last month, following a 0.1% decline in September.  Intermediate food prices rose by 3.1%.  Energy prices rose by 0.6%, following a 2.3% drop in September.  Excluding food and energy prices, the core index for intermediate goods rose by 0.3%, following a 0.1% increase in September.  Compared to a year ago, the overall intermediate goods index was up by 3.4%.
     The PPI for crude goods rose by 2.6% last month, following a 3.4% increase in September.  Crude food prices rose by 8.9%.  The average price for slaughter cattle rose by 20.4% last month and was 62.0% higher than a year ago.  The discovery of mad cow disease in Canada led to a ban on Canadian beef, which help lead to supply tightness in the U.S. and will affect U.S. beef prices for a while.  Energy prices fell by 3.6% in October, following a 0.6% increase in September.  Crude oil prices rose by 6.8% after dropping by 8.4% in September.  Excluding food and energy prices, the core index for crude goods rose by 3.1%, following a 2.3% increase in September.  Compared to a year ago, the overall crude goods index was up by 22.8%.  (George Huang)


     The U.S. trade deficit rose to $41.3 billion in September, a $1.8 billion increase from the $39.5 billion recorded in August.  The goods deficit rose by $1.8 billion to $46.5 billion, while the surplus on services was unchanged at $5.2 billion.  Exports rose to $86.2 billion in September, up from $83.8 billion in August, a 2.8% increase.  Imports grew to $127.4 billion from $123.3 billion in August, a 3.3% increase.  (George Huang)


     The September numbers from the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena airport were a little disappointing.  The total number of passengers using the facility declined by 0.8% over the year.  In August, traffic was down by 1.6%.  These were the first year-to-year drops since August 2002.
     The September hotel news from the Bay Area was a touch better.  In San Francisco, the occupancy rate during the month hit 74.6%, up from 68.1% a year ago.  However, they continued to cut rates, with the average daily room rate (ADR) down by 2.1% to $137.24.  There was continued bad news from San Jose, where the September occupancy rate slipped to 54.9% from 56.8% last year, while the ADR skidded by 10.0% to $104.64.  (Jack Kyser)


     Currently the US military flies troops on Rest & Relaxation (R&R) rotation to one of three domestic airports (BWI, ATL, or DFW).  Once on US soil, the soldiers are responsible for getting their own tickets home from those airports.  Congress has approved funding to pay for the remaining legs of their trip but it may not be sufficient.  Several airlines have started programs whereby members of their frequent fliers programs can donate their miles for soldiers returning home.  Please participate.  Consider this the modern-day version of giving a ride to a hitch-hiking soldier...  For more information, please visit .
AirTran Airways info:
Alaska Air donation form:
<<NEW!>> American Airlines donation form:
Delta Airlines donation form:
Pan Am/Boston-Maine Airways -- troops can get free flights as long as space is available:
<<NEW!>> United Airlines info:,1442,51434,00.html
Southwest, please visit


* BLS: US export prices for 10/03: +0.3% (9/03: +0.4%)
* BLS: US import prices for 10/03: +0.1% (9/03: -0.4%)
* BLS: US Producer Price Index for finished goods 10/03: +0.8% 9/03: +0.3%)
* BLS: US Producer Price Index for intermediate goods 10/03: +0.4% (9/03: -0.1%)
* BLS: US Producer Price Index for crude goods 10/03: +2.6% (9/03: +3.4%)
* Cal EDD: California unemployment rate for 10/03: 6.6% (9/03: 6.5%)
* Cal EDD: California nonfarm employment for 10/03: +72,600 (9/03: +60,300)
* Cal EDD: LA County unemployment rate for 10/03: 6.9% (9/03: 6.8%)
* Cal EDD: LA County nonfarm employment for 10/03: +28,700 (9/03: +22,300)
* Census: US retail sales for 10/03: -0.3% (9/03: -0.4%)
* Census: US business sales for 9/03: +0.6% (8/03: -0.3%)
* Census: US business inventories for 9/03: +0.3% (8/03: -0.4%)
* Census: US exports for 9/03: +2.8% (8/03: -2.6%)
* Census: US imports for 9/03: +3.3% (8/03: -2.2%)
* Census: US merchandise trade deficit for 9/03: US$41.3 billion (8/03: $39.5bil.)
* Federal Reserve: US industrial production for 10/03: +0.2% (9/03: +0.5%)
* Federal Reserve: US industrial capacity utilization rate for 10/03: 75.0% (9/03: 74.9%)
* US Treasury: US federal government budget surplus/deficit for 10/03: -$69.5 billion (9/03: +$26.3bil.)
* Univ. of Michigan: US Consumer Sentiment Survey for 11/03: 93.5 (10/03: 89.6)

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