Southern California’s employment picture is looking up.
Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire both posted healthy job gains in August after seeing significant losses the previous month, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.
California as a whole is also on a positive track. The state added 63,100 jobs in August — far more than the 36,400 that were added the previous month.
The Golden State’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.5 percent but was down from 6 percent a year earlier, EDD figures show.
L.A. County employers added 12,800 jobs last month with the information and professional and business sectors leading the way. That was a welcome turnaround from the 56,300 jobs that were lost in July, although most of those losses were attributed to schools being out of session for the summer. The region’s unemployment rate ticked up to 4.9 percent in August compared with 4.8 percent in July, but it still landed well below the year-ago rate of 6.4 percent.
The county’s information sector saw the biggest gain last month with 5,400 new jobs. Nearly all of them were in motion picture and sound recording, as well as broadcasting. Professional and business services added another 5,100 jobs and additional increases were seen in leisure and hospitality (2,400), government (2,000) and trade, transportation and utilities (1,300), among others.
The county’s eroding manufacturing sector continued to shed jobs last month with another 2,300 positions lost and construction was down 1,500 jobs.
On a year-over-year basis, L.A. County added 73,900 jobs at a rate of 1.7 percent. That fell slightly below the previous month’s annual increase of 75,900 jobs added at a rate of 1.8 percent.
Educational and health services, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality saw the biggest annual increases.
Betsy R. Gavin, senior director of talent acquisition for Kaiser Permanente, noted recently that Kaiser has boosted its Southern California workforce.
“We have increased our number of employees by 5,154, or 8 percent, since January 2015,” she said.
Gavin attributed the hiring to a number of factors, including an aging population that requires more healthcare services, more Americans gaining access to healthcare through the Affordable Care Act and critical shortages of workers in the industry due to retirements.
The Inland Empire also saw a welcome turnaround in employment.
The two-county region added 10, 800 jobs in August after shedding 18,200 the previous month, again mostly from schools being out of session for the summer. The region’s jobless rate dropped to 6.6 percent compared with 6.9 percent in July and 6.8 percent a year earlier.
Government saw the biggest month-over-month increase in August with 6,500 jobs added. Employment gains were also seen in trade, transportation and utilities (2,500), construction (2,200) and professional and business services (800).
Leisure and hospitality lost 900 jobs and financial services and manufacturing each cut 400 jobs.
Vidal Portillo, who owns the Lempa Roofing in Fontana, says he’s hustling to keep up with work orders that continue to pour in. The company handles everything from repairing or replacing loose shingles and tiles to cleaning gutters and weatherproofing homes.
“We’re busy all the time,” he said. “We’re doing two to three jobs a week.”
The Inland Empire added 30,800 jobs over the past 12 months at a rate of 2.4 percent. That was slightly down from the 31,500 jobs that were added year-over-year in July at the same rate.
Trade, transportation and utilities provided the biggest boost with 9,100 new jobs. Government, educational and health services and construction also posted increases, but financial activities and mining and logging reported losses.