Business & Economy

Jobless rate down to 9.1 percent: What's that mean for SoCal?

Job seekers line up to enter Choice Career Fair at the Los Angeles Convention Center on December 1, 2010.
Job seekers line up to enter Choice Career Fair at the Los Angeles Convention Center on December 1, 2010.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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The highly anticipated jobs report came out from the Labor Department this morning, and it’s not so bad. Not great, but not bad. The nation’s jobless figure dropped from 9.2 to 9.1 percent. Jobs created: 117,000. That's 27,000 more than expected.

The official job numbers for the Southland come in two weeks. Some economists say July probably won’t look that much different from May and June in the Southland. That means slow growth on the jobs front, which is not much different than what we’re seeing on the national level.

Nancy Sidhu, the chief economist for the L.A. Economic Development Corporation, says there is no need to panic. "We have to get used to the fact that the economy doesn’t grow in a straight line, it wiggle waggles."

Sidhu adds that if you look over a year, rather than month by month, L.A.'s at 12 percent unemployment. That's down from 12.6 last year. She says it’s like watching grass grow: slow, slow, slow, but it's still growth.

The largest source of employment declines in the Southland are state and local government jobs. The construction industry also hasn't recovered yet, especially residential, single-family home construction. The Inland empire is feeling the pain with 14 percent unemployment.

Some sectors are making progress. The tourism industry is up since it's their high season, summer. International trade has improved as well, with longshore workers getting their full-time hours back and truckers are being put back to work.

The tech sector has improved, especially app development for smartphones and game development in Los Angeles. One man who was laid off from an insurance company says he’s been out of work for two years, but he’s started developing smartphone apps in between looking for jobs.

Sidhu says another area that's improved in Los Angeles is the motion picture industry. She says Hollywood is responsible for creating the most jobs in L.A. County over the last year.

Audio: KPCC business reporter Shereen Marisol Meraji spoke to KPCC's Steve Julian about what the job numbers means for the Southland.