unemployment

By Kevin Smith and Gregory J. Wilcox, Staff Writers
Posted: 03/22/2013 08:46:57 PM PDT
Updated: 03/22/2013 08:49:51 PM PDT

Unemployment rates rose in Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire in January and both regions posted significant job losses, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.

L.A. County’s unemployment rate hit 10.4 percent in January. That was up from 10.3 percent the previous month but well below the year-ago rate of 11.6 percent.

Total nonfarm employment fell by 81,000 jobs in January, although the region posted a 2 percent year-over-year gain of 73,800 jobs.

The Inland Empire saw a bigger rise in unemployment. Its jobless rate jumped to 11.5 percent in January compared with 11 percent the previous month. But that was still significantly lower than 12.7 a year earlier.

The two-county region lost 19,400 nonfarm jobs in January but saw a year-over-year gain of 24,200 jobs – the biggest annual increase since 2006.

California added 1,700 nonfarm payroll jobs in January, bringing the state’s total gain to 681,400 jobs added since the recovery began in February 2010, the EDD said.

Stephen Levy, director and senior economist at the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto, cautions against giving too much weight to the January report because of big upward revisions made in job growth between December 2012 and January 2013.

And job growth at the state and regional level actually outpaced the nation last year, Levy notes.

“The story of California’s demise is just wrong,” Levy said. “The long-term fundamentals of growth for the state and the region remain strong.”

Levy noted that the EDD’s 12-month California job growth estimate for December was revised up in January to 286,100 from 129,100. Los Angeles County’s was revised up to 73,800 from 22,000 and the Inland Empire’s was moved up to 24,200 from 15,200.

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