April 1, 2021

Pandemic cost Los Angeles County 557,200 jobs, 232% jump in unemployment – Whittier Daily News

Pandemic cost Los Angeles County 557,200 jobs, 232% jump in unemployment – Whittier Daily News


The pandemic era’s first year cost roughly 1-in-8 workers in Los Angeles County their jobs and more than tripled unemployment.

My trusty spreadsheet, filled with state job figures, found local bosses had 4.06 million workers in February — down 557,200 in the 12 months since the last time the economy wasn’t shackled by the virus. That translates to the pandemic cutting 12% of local jobs.

It’s a very split job decline. Employment in “fun” industries — retail, eateries, tourism and entertainment — are 33% below pre-pandemic staffing vs. a drop of 9% for the rest of the economy. And a 9% loss isn’t pretty. The cuts slashed the “fun” share of local jobs to 9% from 11.7% in 2015-19.

L.A.’s latest unemployment rate was 10.9% vs. a pandemic peak of 18.8% and 4.7% in February 2020, according to my spreadsheet. That’s a 232% one-year jump.

Note: The Great Recession had a 13.2% unemployment high. And if the latest rate was adjusted to include the 403,100 folks who quit the job market, 21% would be the jobless rate.

Here’s how employment fared in key industries in Los Angeles County — latest month vs. February 2020 — ranked by largest jobs losses in percentage terms …

Hotels: 25,100 jobs — down 26,600 in a year — a 51% decline.

Arts, entertainment and recreation: 60,700 jobs — down 37,300 in a year — a 38% decline.

Restaurants: 281,400 jobs — down 116,500 in a year — a 29% decline.

Manufacturing: 302,400 jobs — down -35,500 in a year — a 11% decline.

Business services: 583,600 jobs — down -63,400 in a year — a 10% decline.

Government: 544,800 jobs — down -53,200 in a year — a 9% decline.

Retailing: 380,800 jobs in February 2021 — down 32,500 over 12 months — a 8% decline.

Real estate, construction, finance: 208,700 jobs — down 14,700 in a year — a 7% decline.

Healthcare, personal services: 698,400 jobs — down 25,500 in a year — a 4% decline.

Transportation/warehouses: 201,900 jobs — up 1,500 in a year — a 1% increase. Yes, an increase thanks to online shopping!

And in the four-county Southern California region? 24,000 jobs added to 1.50 million — but that’s 11% below February 2020. (Fun jobs at 39% off pre-virus level vs. 6% elsewhere.) Unemployment? 6.8% last month vs. 7.3% the previous month and 2.8% in February 2020.

Jonathan Lansner is business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at jlansner@scng.com



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