L.A. County’s economy chugged along at nearly full employment in February as the unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent and employers added 33,000 jobs to their payrolls, state figures released Friday show.
The California Employment Development Department reported that the unemployment rate dropped from 4.9 percent in January to its lowest level in nearly 10 years. More people joined the labor force, which grew by 7,000 to 5,067,000, and even more people – 13,000 – reported they were working.
The county’s 4.8 percent rate was slightly better than the statewide average of 5 percent, but was just slightly above the 4.7 percent nationwide rate.
With the unemployment rate so low, the market heavily favors people looking for new jobs. That has left employers scrambling to snag quality candidates before they move on to other offers.
“Candidates are staying on the market for a particular job for about a week before moving on to the next one,” said Brandi Britton, Los Angeles district president for Robert Half, a Menlo Park staffing firm. “But employers have not been able to move that quickly, so they are missing the chance to hire the early applicants.”
So far, Britton said, employers haven’t substantially raised their salary offers as compensation increases have remained in the 2 percent to 3 percent range.