Last week, unemployment claims edged above 400,000 again, after falling slightly below that number. Why is this a (potentially) big deal? Because 400,000 is a bit of a magic unemployment number: Fall below it, and you could be on the road to recovery; rise above it, and you could be looking at an economy headed for a stall. Or a double-dip recession. In any case, misery.
What does this mean in Southern California? Nothing good, given that our unemployment rate is running far above the national average of 9.1 percent. In Los Angeles County, it was at 12.4 percent in June, according to the latest batch of statistics released by the BLS.
Angelenos might want to consider themselves lucky, however. As the chart below shows, Riverside and San Bernadino counties have it much worse (the graphic comes from Google’s very useful interactive Public Data Explorer).