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SCVNews.com | County Jobless Rate Hits 12.5% on Local Govt. Cuts | 09-16-2011
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July 24
1864 - Walker/Reynier family patriarch Jean Joseph Reynier, then 15, arrives in Sand Canyon from France; eventually homesteads 1,200 acres [story]


State government expanded, but a shrinking local government workforce was the job-loss leader in August, helping drive Los Angeles County’s August unemployment rate to 12.5 percent from a revised 12.3 percent in July.

The employment picture is typically better in Santa Clarita, where the jobless rate fell to 7.8 percent in August from 8.2 percent in July. Of a total labor force of 87,800 workers, an estimated 81,000 had jobs.

California’s jobless rate notched up to 12.1 percent in August from 12 percent in July, while the nation held steady at 9.1 percent, according to a report Friday from the state Employment Development Department.

Throughout Los Angeles County, the local government sub-sector – cities, school, public utilities and similar agencies – lost 7,700 jobs from July to August.

The federal government also trimmed 400 jobs in the county, but the state of California padded its payroll with 1,400 new positions in Los Angeles County for a net total government job loss of 6,700 positions.

The city of Santa Clarita saw a reduction of 24 employees from July 14 to Aug. 16. Jobs fell from 847 total workers in July to 823 in August; the 823 figure includes all full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers, said Jason Crawford, the city’s marketing and economic development manager.

“The majority of the difference in employment for the city between July and August were lifeguards who were (seasonal) employees whose assignment had ended,” Crawford said.

The city has eliminated 35 regular positions through attrition since 2008 and has never laid off a single employee, he said.

College of the Canyons bucked the trend, gaining a net of seven positions in August, according to figures from spokesman Jesse Munoz. The community college district trimmed its number of administrators by two for a total of 84, but added four classified positions for a total of 229 and five full-time faculty positions for a total of 188.

Overall, COC started August with 494 employees and finished with 501.

The Castaic Lake Water Agency also made modest job gains in August. The public water utility filled two open positions, bringing its Aug. 31 payroll to 115 positions versus 113 as of July 31, General Manager Dan Masnada said.

Figures for the William S. Hart Union High School District were not immediately available Friday.  Spokeswoman Gail Pinsker said teachers returned to work during the week of Aug. 15, so figures for the second half of August should be higher than either July or the first half of August.

Last month, the EDD attributed higher unemployment totals to the loss of seasonal school jobs over the summer. SCV school districts cut summer classes from their schedule this year.

Countywide, the leisure and hospitality industries recorded the second highest losses, with 4,400 fewer jobs, indicating that people were spending less money on entertainment and travel to Los Angeles during one of the busiest vacation months. Included in the figure are 2,300 fewer jobs in accommodation and food services, and 1,800 fewer jobs in arts, entertainment and recreation.

Overall the county saw month-over-month losses in six of eleven sectors. Posting losses were miscellaneous services, down 1,800 jobs; manufacturing, down 1,400; construction, down 800; financial activities, down 400; and professional and business services, down 200.

Countywide gainers were information, up 3,500 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities, up 1,100; and non-government educational and health services, up 500. Mining and logging remained unchanged.

Across California, local government jobs were down but the leisure and hospitality industry grew slightly. Other statewide gainers were mining and logging; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; and professional and business services. Losers were construction, information, financial activities, non-government educational and health services, and other services.

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