The Economic Data Global Express (e-EDGE)

v.11 n.52      Released Dec. 24, 2007                     [Click here to print this page]
Produced by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation as a public service to the global community.

This Week's Headlines:


     The November report from the California Employment Development Department continued to point to a slowing economy.  Just 900 jobs were created from October to November (seasonally adjusted).  The September-to-October decline was revised down to 13,500 jobs.  Over the year to November, the state added a total of 85,700 nonfarm jobs.  Back in January, the gain over the year was 245,500 jobs.

     By industry sector in the state (unadjusted), the largest gains over the year were in government (+45,700 jobs), health services (+41,100 jobs), professional-scientific & technical services (+29,000 jobs), and leisure & hospitality services (+28,000 jobs).  Job losses over the year came in construction (-35,200 jobs), retailing (-18,200 jobs), finance & insurance (-17,300 jobs), and manufacturing
(-14,400 jobs).

     Los Angeles County’s nonfarm workforce increased by 0.7% or 30,400 jobs over the year to November.  Increases came in health services (+8,800 jobs), leisure & hospitality services (+8,700 jobs), government (+7,900 jobs), and private education (+7,000 jobs).  In the loss column were manufacturing (-6,100 jobs), construction (-4,300 jobs), and retailing (-4,000 jobs).  We were watching the motion picture & sound recording job numbers, since the Writer’s Guild went on strike November 5th. Surprise!  The industry’s employment count increased by 1,100 jobs over the month and by 5,300 over the year.  Most of the writers are independent contractors (and not counted as employed), while scripted TV series hadn’t run out of scripts.

     Orange County is in an employment recession.  It has now recorded three consecutive months of over-the-year job losses, with November nonfarm employment down by 2,200 jobs.  Increases came in government (+3,200 jobs), health services (+2,800 jobs), and leisure & hospitality services (+1,700 jobs).  The largest losses over the year were in finance & insurance (-8,100 jobs) and construction (-3,700 jobs).

     Employment growth is even slowing in the Riverside-San Bernardino area, with the November nonfarm job total up by 3.1% over the year (in the April through September period, the percentage gains were stronger).  The largest increases over the year were in leisure & hospitality services (+5,900 jobs), retail (+5,500 jobs), health services (+5,000 jobs), and administrative services (+4,400 jobs).  The area’s construction sector was still positive, adding 1,400 jobs over the year to November.

     San Diego County saw a 1.0% or a 13,300 job increase over the year to November.  The largest gains were in professional, scientific & technical services, and leisure & hospitality services, each adding 4,100 jobs.  Health services in the County were up by 3,700 jobs over the year.  In the loss column were construction (-5,500 jobs), and real estate (-1,300 jobs).

     Nonfarm employment in Ventura County continued to amble forward in November, with a 0.6% or 1,700 job gain.  The biggest increases over the year came in retailing (+1,200 jobs) and health services (+1,000 jobs).  Construction was down by - 1,500 jobs.

     November employment trends were mixed in the Bay Area.  The Oakland metro area recorded just a 0.3% increase (or 3,700 jobs) over the year.  The San Francisco metro area turned in a better performance, rising by 1.5% or 14,400 jobs over the year to November.  The San Jose area saw a 1.3% or an 11,700 job gain over the year.  (Jack Kyser)

Not seasonally adjusted
     Nov.'07   Oct.'07   Sep'07   Nov.'06   M/M Chg  Y/Y Chg  Y/Y %Chg

California                  15,385.6  15,334.6  15,293.9  15,299.0   +51.0    +86.6    +0.6%
Los Angeles Co.              4,175.0   4,158.4   4,143.3   4,144.6   +16.6    +30.4    +0.7%
Orange Co.                   1,532.9   1,531.0   1,525.4   1,535.1    +1.9     -2.2    -0.1%
Riverside-San Bernardino     1,329.5   1,320.7   1,319.3   1,289.9    +8.8    +39.6    +3.1%
Ventura Co.                    302.5     300.6     300.2     300.8    +1.9     +1.7    +0.6%
San Diego Co.                1,324.5   1,319.1   1,315.4   1,311.2    +5.4    +13.3    +1.0%
San Francisco MSA              994.1     989.5     986.3     979.7    +4.6    +14.4    +1.5%
Oakland MSA                  1,064.9   1,062.8   1,059.2   1,061.2    +2.1     +3.7    +0.3%
San Jose MSA                   916.7     914.9     906.9     905.0    +1.8    +11.7    +1.3%

California data:$PDS.pdf
LA County data:$PDS.pdf
Orange County data:$PDS.pdf
Riverside-San Bernardino data:$PDS.pdf
Ventura County data:$PDS.pdf


     The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released November unemployment estimates last week.  Seasonally adjusted, the Los Angeles County unemployment rate was 5.3%, up from 5.1% in both October and September, and up from 4.4% a year earlier.  November was the sixth consecutive month that the County’s unemployment rate increased over the year.  Last month’s year-over-year 0.9 percentage point increase in the County’s unemployment rate was the largest since July 2002 (which was up by 1.0 percentage point).

     California’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate for last month was 5.6%, unchanged from both October and September, and up from 4.7% a year earlier.  Los Angeles County’s adjusted unemployment rate has remained below or at the state rate for 20 of the last 21 months.  By way of comparison, the seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate was 4.7% in November, unchanged from both October and September, and up from 4.5% a year earlier.

     The combined five-county area unemployment rate rose by +0.9 percentage point from November 2006 (to 5.2%).  The jobless rate increased by +1.2 percentage points in Riverside County (to 6.4%), by +1.1 percentage points in San Bernardino County (to 5.7%), by +0.9 percentage points in Ventura County (to 5.4%), and +0.8 percentage points in Orange County (to 4.2%).  The seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate in Los Angeles County increased by +1.0 percentage point over the last 12 months to 5.2%. 

     San Diego’s unemployment rate was 4.8% in October, up by +0.8 percentage point from a year earlier.

     The Bay Area's combined unemployment rate (seasonally unadjusted) increased by +0.6 percentage points to 4.7% in November.  Over the last 12 months, joblessness increased by +0.7 percentage points in the Oakland-Fremont-Hayward Metropolitan Division (to 4.9%), by +0.6 percentage points in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara Metropolitan Statistical Area (to 5.0%), and by +0.4 percentage points in the San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City Metropolitan Division (to 4.1%).  (Eduardo J. Martinez)

Seasonally adjusted       Nov.'07 Oct.'07 Sep.'07 Nov.'06  M/M Chg   Y/Y Chg
U.S. average                4.7%    4.7%    4.7%    4.5%    +0.0      +0.2
California                  5.6%    5.6%    5.6%    4.7%    +0.0      +0.9
Los Angeles County          5.3%    5.1%    5.1%    4.4%    +0.2      +0.9

Not seasonally adjusted   Nov.'07 Oct.'07 Sep.'07 Nov.'06  M/M Chg   Y/Y Chg
U.S. average                4.4%    4.3%    4.5%    4.1%    +0.1      +0.3
California                  5.6%    5.4%    5.4%    4.6%    +0.2      +1.0
Los Angeles Co.             5.2%    5.0%    5.2%    4.2%    +0.2      +1.0
Orange Co.                  4.2%    4.2%    4.2%    3.4%    +0.0      +0.8
Riverside Co.               6.4%    6.5%    6.5%    5.2%    -0.1      +1.7
San Bernardino Co.          5.7%    5.7%    5.6%    4.6%    +0.0      +1.1
Ventura Co.                 5.4%    5.2%    5.3%    4.1%    +0.2      +1.3
San Diego Co.               4.8%    4.8%    4.8%    4.0%    +0.0      +0.8
San Francisco MD            4.1%    4.2%    4.2%    3.7%    -0.1      +0.4
Oakland MD                  4.9%    4.9%    4.9%    4.2%    +0.0      +0.7
San Jose MSA                5.0%    4.9%    5.0%    4.4%    +0.1      +0.6



     The October data from PKF Consulting revealed a still healthy hotel sector in Southern California.  In Los Angeles County, the occupancy rate was 82.7% compared with 78.9% last year.  Better yet, the average daily room rate (ADR) rose by 11.7% to $163.05.  Nine areas in the County had November occupancy rates of 80% or better, with the Airport (88.7%) and Hollywood (87.0%) leading the parade.  The highest ADR was found again in Beverly Hills, at $401.44 which was up by a zesty 13.4% over the year to October.

     Orange County’s October occupancy rate was 75.7% compared with 73.6% last year.  The ADR increased by 8.7% to $150.86.  By area, the highest occupancy rate was Anaheim’s 79.5%.  The highest ADR was South Orange County’s $210.72, which was up by 3.8% over the year.

     At first blush, San Diego County’s October hotel numbers looked a little flaccid, but remember the wild fires.  The occupancy rate was 77.0%, down from 78.5% a year ago.  The ADR was up by 2.6% to $173.59.  The highest occupancy rate was found in Mission Valley, at 82.1%.  The highest ADR was La Jolla’s $251.00, which was up a lackluster 1.0%. (Jack Kyser)


     International trade values were mixed at the state’s three customs districts during the month of October.  At Los Angeles, there was a 15.1% increase in the value of exports, while imports rose by a more modest 4.3%.  Total two-way trade value was up by 7.1% over the year to $32.9 billion, a new peak.  The 10-month trade total was up by 5.7% to $$289.2 billion.

     At the San Francisco district, export values increased by 9.6%, but import values declined by 0.8% over the year to October.  Total two-way trade value was up by 3.0% to $9.8 billion.  The 10-month total was ahead of the comparable 2006 period by 1.0% to $93.2 billion.

     At the San Diego district, export values in October rose by 3.7%, while imports moved up by 8.4%.  The month’s total increased by 7.0% over the year.  The 10-month total was up by 6.9% to $44.8 billion. (Jack Kyser)


     The November report from the California Association of Realtors (CAR) revealed no change in trend.  Unit sales in the state were down BY 36.2% over the year, while the median price declined by 11.9% to $488,640.  The unsold inventory was 15.3 months, compared with 6.4 months a year ago.  The CAR noted that the upper and middle tiers of the state’s resale housing market continued to be bedeviled by difficulties in obtaining jumbo mortgage loans.

In Los Angeles County during November, unit sales fell by 36.5%, while the median price declined by 11.8% to $520,960.  In Orange County, unit sales were down by 36.8%, while the median price fell by 5.4% to $520,960.  In the Riverside-San Bernardino area, unit sales dropped by 43.2%, and the median price declined by 14.3% to $344,140.  November unit sales in San Diego County were off by 26.2%, and the median price was down by 7.3% to $535,780.  Ventura County saw a 55.3% drop in unit sales, while the median price declined by 6.1% to $623,510.

In the Bay Area, “San Francisco Bay” saw unit sales decline by 35.4% over the year to November, but the median price rose by 7.3% to $793,930.   The trend in the San Jose area was the same, unit sales down by 39.2% and the median price up by 10.3% to $855,000.  (Jack Kyser)



     The U.S. Census Bureau reported last week that U.S. housing starts declined by -3.7% in November to 1.19 million units (seasonally adjusted annual rate or SAAR), after rising by +4.2% in October.  Activity had plunged by -12.2% in September, reflecting turmoil in the primary and secondary mortgage markets.  Construction was started on about 829,000 single-family homes in November, down by -5.4% from October—and the lowest level for single-family starts since April 1991.  In the multi-family sector (apartments and condominiums), some 358,000 units were started last month, up just a smidge (or 0.6%) from 356,000 units in October.

     Total housing starts peaked back in January, 2006 at 2.29 million units, according to the Census Bureau.  Starts reached another new low for this downturn in September, and as of November were down by -44% from the peak quarter.  Single-family and multi-family starts were down by -53% and -5% respectively. 

     The underlying fundamentals in the housing industry continue to be negative.  The latest monthly survey of homebuilder attitudes taken by the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) continued at the record low level set in September and October (data go back to 1985).  About four-fifths of the builders reported slow sales, and 86% complained about lower buyer traffic.  Expectations for future sales also remained dismal. 

     Lenders’ stricter standards for granting all types of mortgages haven’t helped the situation.  And lenders are being hindered by the lack of buying interest in the secondary market, which has contracted a bad case of “subprime anxiety.”  As a result, it’s become harder and harder for would-be homebuyers to find subprime and jumbo mortgages at favorable rates.  Most builders and industry observers expect housing construction activity to move down some more from here.  They disagree though on how much farther starts will fall and how long it will take until the bottom is reached.  The “optimists” expect the trough will be reached in the spring, while the “pessimists” forecast declining starts throughout 2008 with a bottom in 2009.   (Nancy D. Sidhu)



     The California Department of Finance has just released their new county/state population estimates for July 1, 2007.  The state’s population increased by almost 1.2% or 438,455 persons over 2005, moving the total to 37,771,431 residents.  This continued the pattern of slower growth in evidence since 2003.  Natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) accounted for 327,285 of the “new” people in California, while net migration (foreign immigration and net domestic migration) added 111,170 more new residents.

     The largest population increase in the state between 2006 and 2007 came in Riverside County, up by 66,141 persons to a July 1, 2007 total of 2,070,315 residents.  Much of this growth was fueled by the availability of low cost housing (often purchased with a subprime loan).  Next was Los Angeles County, growing by 46,608 persons to a total of 10,294,280 residents. The County recorded a natural increase of 91,679, but had a net out-migration of - 45,071 persons.  San Diego County was ranked third, with an increase of 42,211 residents, moving the total to 3,120,088 persons.  Its net migration was positive, by 16,049 people.

     Fourth in the state in population growth during the 2006-2007 period was Santa Clara County, up by 29,904 people to a total of 1,820,176 residents. Net migration here was also positive, at 12,011 persons.  Fifth was San Bernardino County, with an increase of 28,063 people moving its total to 2,039,467 residents.  Net migration was modest, just 4,939 people.  Orange County ranked sixth in the state with an increase of 22,842 people, moving the July, 2007 count to 3,098,183 people.  It had net out-migration, losing 4,351 persons.

     Finally, Ventura County recorded an increase of 7,747 new residents, moving its total population to 826,550 persons.  It registered a net in-migration of 425 people.

     Between the 2000 Census and July 1,2007, Southern California counties have recorded the following population gains:  Los Angeles +718,303; Orange + 234,789; Riverside + 511,269; San Bernardino + 317,124; San Diego + 283,611; and Ventura + 67,945.  The six counties’ total increase of 2,133,040 new residents accounted for 58.0% of the state’s total 2000-2007 population increase of 3,676,227 people.  (Jack Kyser)



The Economic Data Global Express (e-EDGE) is a free service of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC). Permission to quote any proprietary part of this release is granted given proper credit. Distribution is allowed provided that no modifications are made to the original content. Sponsors of this service do not necessarily endorse all opinions stated herein. For more information, please e-mail to [email protected] To contact LAEDC, please call 213-622-4300.

Subscribe to e-EDGE and receive current economic news and major developments.  Your e-mail address will not be disclosed to any outside party (including e-EDGE sponsors) under any circumstances.

To send us comments regarding e-EDGE, please e-mail to [email protected]