Explaining Southern California's economy

August jobs: ADP report says 200,000-plus added

Barack Obama Goes On 2-Day Campaign Swing In Ohio And Pennsylvania

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President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event in Ohio. The August jobs report from the Labor Department, due out tomorrow, could cap a big week for the President if it shows 200,000 new jobs added by the struggling economy.

How big a plus? 201,000, to be exact. The ADP employment report is put out by the private payroll processor and is something I usually work into my preview of the monthly jobs number that's generated by the Labor Department. 

This time around I'm going to give it its own post because tomorrow's government report is so important. Remember: Our unemployment rate is at 8.3 percent nationally. We haven't had a 200,000-job month since early this year. And the sitting President will be accepting the Democratic Party's nomination...tonight. Taking all this into account, you have an August jobs report that's a much bigger deal than usual. Especially given the pressure that the Federal Reserve is under to undertake another round fo "quantitative easing," injecting money into the U.S. economy to improve growth and lower unemployment.


July jobs by city: Los Angeles has another 80,000-plus month

Los Angeles skyline

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Los Angeles has suffered unemployment worse that the nation as a whole for most of the Great Recession and weak recovery.

July 2012 data is out from the Labor Department for "metropolitan area employment" — the employment situation in the nation's cities. Los Angeles, part of an area that includes Long Beach and Santa Ana, notched an over-the-year increase from last July of 86,300 jobs, second only to the New York-New Jersey area, which added just over 90,000.

The July number is a bit less impressive than the June figure of 88,400.

The L.A. area has seen a big drop in its unemployment rate from last July, to 10.9 from 12.2, but the unemployment rate compared with June has moved up, from 10.3 percent. 

Many of California's cities are still enduring unemployment that's much higher than the national rate of 8.3 percent. El Centro is at nearly 30 percent — and even that's an improvement over last July's almost 33 percent rate. For what it's worth, Napa, with a workforce of similar size, has the state's lowest unemployment rate for a metro area, at 7.7 percent.


July jobs report: The U.S. economy is showing a pulse

Job Seekers  Meet With Recruiters At Job Fair

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Job seekers wait in line to enter a San Francisco Hirevent job fair. The Labor Department today released its employment report for July.

The Labor Department has just released its July jobs report, and the news is moderately good. The U.S. economy added 163,000 jobs in July, beating the expectations of many economists. The unemployment rate nationally ticked up very, very slightly, to 8.3. percent from 8.2 percent. More than anything, that's probably a reflection of the 100,000-plus number, which indicates that people are coming back into the workforce, although not in droves.

More workers seeking work means that workers are optimistic about getting a job, but that has the superficially negative effect of raising the total number of unemployed people.

[UPDATE: Actually, as Jared Bernstein notes, the June-July rate change was 8.22 to 8.25, which compelled a round-up to 8.3 percent. No meaningful statistical change there.]


July jobs report: Another sluggish month?

A jobs sign hangs above the entrance to


A jobs sign hangs above the entrance to the US Chamber of Commerce building in Washington, DC. Will July's government jobs report signal a turnaround in the sluggish labor market?

The Labor Department will release its jobs report for July at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow. I'll be on dawn patrol in L.A. to report the news as it breaks, but that doesn't mean we can't take a stab at trying to figure out how the U.S. economy did job-wise last month.

For background, in the first quarter of the year, we added on average about 200,000 new jobs each month. In the second quarter, that dropped to less then 100,000. We need something on the order of 300-400,000 to get the roughly 13 million people who are currently unemployed in America back to work. The 200,000 we were getting per month in the first quarter enabled us to keep pace with new workers coming into the labor force. The 100,000 per month since means stagnation — or, as I've called it, "stuckflation," with the economy growing modestly and the unemployment rate remaining at around 8.2 percent.


June jobs by city: Los Angeles adds 88,400 since 2011

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Job seekers wait in line to enter the San Francisco Hire Event job fair. The Labor Department has just released data on metropolitan employment in the U.S.

The Labor Department has just released June data for what it calls "metropolitan area employment" — the U.S. jobs picture broken down by city, basically. The news for California's cities is decidedly mixed: some very, very good, but some very, very bad.

First the good: the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region has added 88,400 jobs since June 2011. This is second only to the New York/New Jersey area, with 116,000 jobs added.

Now the bad: Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario topped the list of large metro areas in terms of unemployment rate, at 12.6 in June. And of all metro areas, regardless of size, El Centro continues to struggle with unemployment on an epic scale: 28.2 percent.

Of the 372 metro areas that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) covers, 328 saw their unemployment rates decline year-over-year in June. California and its cities participated in that trend. But the challenge moving forward is that, relative to the rest of the country, our cities fell into a deeper unemployment hole during the Great Recession. So even as we add jobs at a nice pace, we have farther to go before we see real light at the end of the tunnel.