Explaining Southern California's economy

California and LA unemployment: Improving, but very slowly

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A "we are hiring" sign is displayed on a table during the San Francisco Hirevent job fair. California's jobless rate in October fell to 10.1 percent from 10.2 percent.

The California Employment Development Department released its report on October jobs in the state Friday. The federal Labor Department will release its report next week. The story is good, in a tenth-of-a-percentage-point kind of way: the jobless rate fell to 10.1% in October, from September's 10.2%.

In Los Angeles, the unemployment rate dropped to 10.5 from 10.6%.

"We're seeing everything start to move in he right direction," said Kimberly Ritter-Martinez, an economist with the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. "We're edging closer to breaking that 10% mark."

That could happen soon if California continues to add jobs as it has at a faster clip than the nation as a whole. In the U.S. jobs are being added at a rate of 1.5%. In California, the rate is 2.1%, driven by the strong performance of the tech sector in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.


Why an 11-percent unemployment rate in California is better than 10.9 percent

Career Fair Held For Job Seekers

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Job seekers hand out resumes to a recruiter during the San Francisco Hire Event job fair. California unemployment rate actually rose slightly in March.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its California jobs report today for March, as did the Employment Development Department (EDD). The bad news is that the state's unemployment rate climbed very slightly, to 11 percent from 10.9 percent. The good news is that the state added more than 18,000 jobs in the month. And the even better news is that the rate ticked up because the overall labor force is actually growing.

I know, I know, where's the good-good news in that? Well, greater labor force participation will tend to bring the unemployment rate up. That's because there are more people looking for work than there were in February — a sign that people who had been out of the labor market now feel confident enough to come back in.

Ironically, that 0.1 increase is a positive indicator.