The retail-heavy Santa Clarita’s unemployment rate inched up to 6.2 percent in December as holiday hiring was off its usual pace across Los Angeles County for the month, even as the county and state’s adjusted jobless rates remained flat at 10.2 and 9.8 percent respectively.
Santa Clarita had hit a 4-year low in November at 6 percent, driven by early holiday hiring and motion picture activity.
Still, Santa Clarita’s December rate was nearly a full point better than the year-ago figure of 7.1 percent, indicating a healthier economy.
“I think there’s going to be quite a bit of growth in 2013,” said Jason Crawford, the city of Santa Clarita’s economic development manager. “On the film and entertainment side, all of the studios are full, and it’s actually looking like (we will see) some expansion there.”
Even though many feature film producers have left California in recent years, “TV production is just going gangbusters here,” Crawford said.
The outlook is positive for Santa Clarita’s aerospace businesses, as well, he said.
“We’ve got not only defense contracts, but there are a lot of commercial airplane contracts that are coming,” he said.
Countywide, December saw the trade-transportation-utilities sector grow by 3,700 jobs. According to the California Employment Development Department, most of the growth came not in retail (up 200) but in transportation, warehousing and utilities (up 2,400). Goods were moving, but below-average numbers of people were being hired to deliver them to retail customers. Wholesale trade accounted for the remaining 1,100 new jobs.
L.A. County’s information sector grew by 3,100 jobs in December, with most of the gains coming in the motion picture and sound recording industries (up 2,200). Construction added 2,500 jobs, with specialty trade contractors accounting for 2,300 of them.
Losers in December for L.A. County were religious, grant making, civic, professional and similar
organizations, which slashed 1,900 jobs from payrolls. Government cut 1,100; manufacturing was down by 1,000; leisure and hospitality were down 600; and mining and logging – which is usually unchanged – were down 100.
Year-over-year, the leisure and hospitality sector posted the biggest job gains in Los Angeles County with a 21,600 new positions. Of those, accommodation and food services led the way with 18,100, while arts, entertainment and recreation grew by 3,500.
Other year-over-year gainers were professional and business services, which grew by 16,800, of which 12,500 were in administrative and support services (including temp job agencies).
Private educational and health services grew by 15,600 jobs in 2012, of which 10,900 were in private education. The trade-transportation-utilities sector grew by 10,400, mostly in retail trade (up 8,100).
Losers across L.A. County during 2012 were manufacturing (down 6,000), government (which includes public school teachers), down by 4,300; and other services (down 1,800). Mining and logging were unchanged on the year.