Local Unemployment Declines as County Rate Remains Flat

Data: California Employment Development Department

South Pasadena’s unemployment rate saw a slight decrease from June to July, according to state data, though the rates in Los Angeles County and California stayed obstinate.
The local rate fell from a revised 8.2% in June to 7.6% in July, the California Employment Development Department reported in a preliminary estimate. The drop represented a decrease in the number of the city’s unemployed residents from about 1,200 to 1,100; the estimate for employed residents increased from 13,300 to 13,400.
South Pasadena’s unemployment rate, which historically has been lower than the county’s, has improved sharply since its pandemic-era high of 16.5% in May 2020. It has fluctuated somewhat this year, however, usually hovering between 7% and 8%. The city’s pre-pandemic joblessness rate was 3.7%.

While South Pasadena’s rate improved last month, L.A. County’s remained at an estimated 10.2% in July — the same as it has been since May. The EDD estimated that roughly 521,300 county residents were unemployed.
That rate, as well as South Pasadena’s, are not seasonally adjusted — meaning they don’t account for expected shifts in employment, such as those that occur when the school year ends. Adjusted, the county rate fell from 10.6% in June to 10.4% in July. While leisure and hospitality jobs — which include restaurant and amusement park positions — continued to see gains, employment at school sites dropped greatly.
California’s joblessness rate also changed little over that period, remaining flat at 7.6% when seasonally adjusted and decreasing from 8% to 7.9% when not. Still, Gov. Gavin Newsom — California’s Democratic leader, who is facing a recall election next month — depicted the report in a positive light, saying that the state had regained more than 58% of the jobs it had lost in March and April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“California continues to lead the nation’s economic recovery, adding 114,400 new jobs in July — more new jobs than any other state, and the fourth time this year of six-figure job gains,” Newsom said in a statement. “We’ll continue to lead with the science and data, prioritizing vaccinations and supporting those workers and small businesses hit hardest by this pandemic, to create the conditions for a robust economic recovery.”
California’s unemployment remains notably higher than the overall country’s figure. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.4% in July, down from 5.9% in June.
The state joblessness rate’s elevation above the national rate remains even as the $300 federal enhancement for unemployment benefits is expected to expire after Sept. 6, meaning the last week California workers could receive the aid would end on Sept. 4.
In an open letter, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Labor Secretary Martin Walsh said last week that President Joe Biden plans to allow the benefit enhancement to expire. But they added that states can use their federal funding from the American Rescue Plan relief package to continue offering additional aid for unemployed workers.
“We still have more work to do, but the trend is clear: Thanks to the grit and ingenuity of the American people and with the federal government executing on a plan to bring our economy back, our nation is getting back to work,” the letter read in part. “As President Biden has said, the [unemployment benefits] boost was always intended to be temporary and it is appropriate for that benefit boost to expire.”