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California, L.A County unemployment rates hold steady in March

File photo: Attendees of a job fair in California in October fill out paperwork.
File photo: Attendees of a job fair in California in October fill out paperwork.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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California's economy gained a net of 11,800 jobs in March, and the unemployment remained flat at 8.1% .  The California Employment Development Department revised its February calculation of the unemployment rate from 8.0% to 8.1%, meaning the rate was unchanged in March. 

8.1% is far lower than the 9.2% the Golden State saw in March of last year. 

11,800 jobs in March is paltry compared the 62,000 jobs the state picked up the month in February, but Economist Jordan Levine of Beacon Economics says the month to month numbers are often volatile.  The latest figures confirm that over the year since March of 2013, California has added jobs at a faster rate than the rest of the country.  Levine also likes the range of jobs created.

 "We created a lot of high wage, high skilled jobs in the information sector, as an example, but we also created jobs at the other end of the skill spectrum in sectors like retail trade," Levine told KPCC.

While California's unemployment rate stayed at 8.1 percent in March,  Los Angeles County's held steady at 8.7 percent. 

" I would not be surprised though over the next several months if, both for the state and for parts of Southern California, these unemployment rates go sideways for a while, Robert Kleinhenz is Chief Economist with the LA County Economic Development Corporation.

Not up, not down, but sideways.  Because as the economy adds more jobs, more people are entering the labor force to look for them.  Kleinhenz says many of those people gave up their search a while ago, but new hope is bringing them back.  

"The job growth that we have seen is certainly good and probably prompting more people to seek job changes and for people without jobs to look more earnestly to find a job," Kleinhenz said. "I would expect that those searches are going to be bearing fruit in the next several months."

In March, the  unemployment rate was 9.2% in San Bernardino County,  9.4% in Riverside County, and 5.8% in Orange County. 


More than two-thirds of the states reported job gains in March, as hiring improves for much of the country during what has been a sluggish but sustained 4 1/2-year recovery.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates dropped in 21 states, rose in 17 and was unchanged in the remaining 12. Meanwhile, hiring increased in 34 states and fell in 16.

(Photo: Bureau of Labor Statistics)