Unsettled by signs that the recovery is stumbling, California employers in August cut jobs for the second month in a row, helping push the unemployment rate to 12.1% from 12% in July.
With not enough bright employment spots where employment is increasing, overall payrolls fell in California by 8,400 positions last month, according to figures released Friday by the Employment Development Department. California has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation after Nevada. Nevada’s unemployment rate jumped to 13.4% in August, from a revised 12.9% in July.
There are 2.2 million people out of work in California and many have been without a job for more than a year. Nearly one in six Californians lives in poverty, according to Census Bureau data released earlier this week. Analysts said a growing poverty rate could hamper growth in the state because children living in poverty are less likely to continue to higher education.
California’s job market has been up and down this year. The state has added 98,500 positions through the first eight months of 2011. But key industries such as construction continue to struggle. That sector lost the most jobs in California last month, 7,200 positions.
Southern California home prices fell 1.4% last month from July, and foreclosure proceedings accelerated 55% in the state last month.
“Construction and government are hurting, and it’s not obvious that they can turn around anytime soon,” said Dan Seiver, an economist at San Diego State University.
Information, financial services, educational and health services and government also lost jobs in August. Manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, and leisure and hospitality added positions.
High unemployment plagued many areas of the state, including Imperial County, where unemployment reached 32.4%; Stanislaus County, which had an unemployment rate of 16%; and Yuba County, where unemployment was at 18.7% last month.
Los Angeles County lost 10,300 jobs as the unemployment rate rose to 12.5% from 12.3% in July. Government led the decline, although leisure and hospitality, manufacturing and construction also lost positions.
The information sector added jobs in L.A. County, including the motion picture and sound recording category, which grew 2.4% in August and 9.5% over the year. Educational and health services also added positions.
Another even more robust employment area is the San Francisco Bay Area and in particular Silicon Valley. In Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley, unemployment fell to 9.9% from 10.3% the previous month. San Mateo County, the next county to the north of Santa Clara County, saw an even bigger decrease, falling to 8.3% from 8.8%. The metropolitan area for Silicon Valley, which includes Santa Clara and San Benito counties, added a total of 30,000 jobs in August, with 1,600 coming from the manufacturing sector.
Orange County lost 4,600 positions in August, although the unemployment rate fell to 9% from 9.3% the month before. The unemployment rate can fall even if a region loses jobs as people drop out of the labor force because they are frustrated with the job market.
Government again led the losses, although leisure and hospitality, and financial activities also shed jobs.
The Inland Empire, which includes Riverside and San Bernardino counties, lost 1,400 jobs in August, and its unemployment rate fell to 14.1% from 14.7% the month before. The declines were again concentrated in government and leisure and hospitality.
San Diego County added 200 jobs, and that county’s unemployment rate slipped to 10.2% from 10.6% the month before. Ventura County lost 1,600 positions and its unemployment rate dipped slightly to 10.5% from 10.6% the month before. Kern County, boosted by its oil fields, added 1,400 jobs. Unemployment fell to 14.4% from 15.5% the month before. 09-16-2011. HRM Partners.