Unemployment Rate Falls, as Does Labor Force’s Size

The unemployment rate in South Pasadena continued to drop in November, reaching a pandemic-era low of 6.9%. But an estimated 100 fewer people were actually working compared to October.
The lower unemployment rate appears to be due largely to an approximate decrease in South Pasadena’s labor force of about 300 people, putting the total at roughly 14,100 in November, according to preliminary data from the California Employment Development Department.
About 200 fewer people were unemployed in November compared to October, but it is unclear how many of them found jobs rather than simply leaving the labor force — meaning they reported they were not working and were not looking for work.

In total, an estimated 1,000 South Pasadena workers reported being unemployed in November.
While South Pasadena’s unemployment rate has steadily fallen since May, when the rate was at a high of 16.5%, the city’s labor force has lagged behind, remaining at 14,000 from July to September before reaching the highest point it had been during the pandemic in October, at 14,400.
Likewise, the Los Angeles County labor force fell from 5.77 million in October to an estimated 4.99 million in November, with the unemployment rate falling from 11.8% to 10.6%.
The unemployment rate fell statewide to 8.2% in November, the lowest level since March, but like South Pasadena, California saw losses in both its labor force and total employment. The state’s labor force was down by 327,600 workers from October, and by nearly 600,000 workers since November 2019.
The data released by the EDD is not seasonally adjusted, meaning it does not compensate for changes in weather, holidays and other regular factors.
A statewide health order limiting retail capacity and banning in-person dining as COVID-19 cases skyrocket and ICU beds become scarce has forced many businesses to cut employees’ hours or lay off workers. But because Gov. Gavin Newsom gave that order in December, its impacts are not reflected in the most recent EDD data. The state is being sued over its order.
A county health order with similar effects was also challenged in court by the California Restaurant Association, which won the suit, preventing the county from extending its order. County officials have appealed that ruling.
State officials will not roll back restrictions for Southern California until the region has 15% or more of its adult ICU capacity. The figure has remained at 0% since mid-December.
The national unemployment rate, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics said was at 6.7% in November, is not projected to recover to pre-pandemic levels until at least the end of 2023, according to economic analytics corporation S&P Global.