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California unemployment numbers improve

March 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Some good news for California job hunters Friday: California's bleak job situation got a little brighter last month.

The numbers for February show unemployment inching down from 12.4 percent in January to 12.2 percent last month. It means the state added 96,500 non-farm payroll jobs. Key indicators show reason for optimism.

New jobs numbers get a boost. Tourism is up. International trade is improved, but the biggest gain in Los Angeles County for February is in entertainment, the largest growing sector within the information industry.

"Nineteen-point-six-thousand jobs is dominated by improvement in motion picture production," said L.A. County Economic Development Corporation Chief Economist Nancy Sidhu.

Here is the breakdown in the Southland.

Last month's jobless rate in L.A. County: 12.3 percent, a slight improvement over 12.4 percent the same time last year.

Orange County: 8.9 percent, nearly a full point better than last year's number of 9.7 percent. Leisure and hospitality helped the spurt here, adding 6,500 jobs.

In the Inland Empire: 13.9 percent, down from 14.6 percent last year.

In Ventura County: 10.4 percent, down from 11 percent in 2010.

At a job center in Glendale, a slight change is noted.

"We have seen the number of visitors drop slightly, which is an improvement," said America Solis-Bowman, Glendale Workforce Job Center.

Like many job hunters, she seeks training to keep up with technologies where there is hiring.

The areas of negative growth are construction and government.

"If we added government to the chart it would be over here to the left because government over the last year has shed 21,000 workers," said Sidhu.

Still, the opportunities are far better than they have been.

"It is probably as good a time as it has been in the last two years to go hunt for a job," said Sidhu.