“(Unemployment insurance) claims have not been this low since the beginning of the pandemic,” Shannon Sedgwick, director of the Institute for Applied Economics, said in the briefing. “In September, the unemployment rate was 8.2 percent. This is down by 5 percentage points from last year, when we were still operating under restrictive health orders. So we're showing we're in a much better place.
According to data released Friday by the California Employment Development Department, L.A. County’s 8.2 percent unemployment was higher than the state average of 6.4 percent and Ventura County’s 5.3 percent. Nationally, unemployment was 4.8 percent in September.
Federal unemployment benefits and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which provided supplemental payments to unemployed and self-employed workers, both ended by Sept. 11.
“The worker shortages in California are indicating that the pandemic may have resulted in a structural change in the state's employment,” Sedgwick said. “Decreased foreign immigration into California means less of an inflow of workers and increased migration of workers, especially blue-collar workers, to other states where real estate and the cost of living is cheaper, could have a negative impact on the state’s economy.”
Government jobs expanded by 19,000 positions over the month, the most of any sector. Specifically, government educational services were up by 15,700 jobs over last year. Private education and health and health services increased by 8,400 jobs with nearly three quarters of that gain in private educational services, with an added 6,100 jobs.
“Nearly all industries are still experiencing employment contractions when compared to that pre-pandemic baseline, even though we are adding above and beyond and doing so much better than we were last year,” Sedgwick said.