Ryan Carter, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/16/2010 07:57:04 PM PDT
The Inland Empire’s jobless rate climbed to 14.4 percent in June as governments large and small laid off workers and shed temporary Census employees, a state report out Friday said.
In the Inland Empire, it was government that marked the greatest job declines from May to June, letting go of 3,500 jobs, according to the state Employment Development Department.
Most of those positions were at the federal level, which saw 2,600 jobs vanish from May to June, according to the report.
And a lot of the people behind those jobs were Census workers, said Redlands-based economist John Husing, whose specialty is the Inland Empite.
“It’s very simple. It’s the Census,” Husing said. “If you look at May versus June, we lost 900 jobs (in local government) … and at bottom, we lost 2,600. That’s the Census.”
That effect was seen throughout the country, as the people who knocked on doors and made calls to do the Census began fading back into a nationwide pool of unemployed workers that has swelled to more than 14 million people.
The local unemployment rate climbed from 13.9 percent in May and was higher than June 2009, when it was 13.6 percent.
Local cities felt the brunt, too, as summer vacation also pushed the job market higher as jobs at schools stopped – at least for the summer.
San Bernardino (19 percent), Rialto (18.1 percent) Ontario (15.2 percent) and Redlands (10.5 percent) all saw moderately rising jobless numbers from May to June.
But the numbers weren’t all about the Census – which was bad and good news.
The report showed that 700 construction jobs were created in the region, which was severely hit by the crash in the housing market.
It’s still a relatively low number for a time of the year that should see more building. But it was heartening for some observers.
The construction jobs may be because some workers have gone from building new homes to renovating so-called real estate-owned (REO) or foreclosed homes, said Frank Williams, a member of the San Bernardino County Housing Authority board.
Others may actually be working on new homes built using stimulus from federal and state tax credits, he said.
“A lot of builders who aren’t building new homes are in the REO business,” said Williams, who recently retired as head of the Building Industry Association of Southern California’s Baldy View chapter.
Husing said the numbers of construction jobs should be much higher and lamented the fact that the mortgage market continues to be depressed.
“Even though it’s up, it’s way below what it should have gone up,” he said.
Still, the uptick in construction jobs, along with gains in manufacturing and warehousing, were good news, Husing said.
Gains in manufacturing are connected to more containers coming through the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, which ultimately come through Inland Empire distribution warehouses, economists said.
Those gains weren’t enough to stop Monica Magusen, an account executive at employment service AppleOne in San Bernardino, from seeing “a lot more applicants” for not very many jobs.
To read entire story, click here.