California restaurants and hotels lead job creation

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California accounted for a disproportionate portion of the nation’s new jobs last month, although its path to economic recovery from the pandemic remains steep.

“In April, California was the locomotive that drove the US economy forward,” said Sung Won Sohn, professor of finance and economics at Loyola Marymount University. The Golden State created 38% of the country’s new jobs in April. But that was mainly due to the state coming out of a “harsher and longer lockdown than in many parts of the country,” Sohn said.

California still has a long way to go to recover from its deep pandemic COVID-19 recession: more than half of the jobs it has lost have yet to be restored. The unemployment rate remained stagnant in April at 8.3%, the same as in March, state officials reported on Friday.

Although the state’s pace of job creation was relatively robust in April, it slowed slightly from the previous month. Employers added 101,800 new positions last month for a total of more than 16.2 million. This was less than the 132,400 jobs created in March.

Almost two-thirds of job growth in California over the past three months has been in leisure and hospitality activities that have been damaged the most during the pandemic. Their employment level remained 28% below the pre-pandemic level.

In Los Angeles County, which relies heavily on tourism, the economy has remained in dire straits. Unemployment rose to 11.7% from 11.4% in March and more than half a million people were counted as unemployed.

“Los Angeles has been particularly affected by the closures or severe limitations of critical industries such as hotels, restaurants, travel, entertainment and film production,” said Lynn Reaser, economist at Point Loma University. Nazarene from San Diego.

The state’s unemployment rate was the second highest in the country in April, after Hawaii’s at 8.5%. US unemployment stood at 6.1% last month.

Year after year, California’s job growth has been slower than that of the country; the state gained 8.7%, against 10.9% for the United States

Still, economists are increasingly optimistic after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state’s economy is expected to fully reopen by June 15. “California’s economy is set to explode this summer when trade restrictions are lifted,” Reaser said.

Pomona College economist Fernando Lozano suggested job creation was “moderate” last month, as many schools were only partially open, childcare services were scarce and loans to children were available. Federal businesses had dried up. “Many households have moved to more affordable areas, but jobs are reopening in the more expensive urban communities,” he said.

Pepperdine University economist David M. Smith has predicted that Golden State’s economy will reach full employment by fall. Despite the geographic lags, “California is a job-creating machine,” he said. “Unemployment in tech-dominated San Francisco is less than half that of Los Angeles with its small businesses and its entertainment and hospitality industries the hardest hit.”

Neel Sodha, the founder of LA Walking Tours, cut the hours of his 13 guides during the pandemic. His company’s revenue remains half of what it was before the virus hit, despite the easing of COVID restrictions. “You would think that with the vaccines coming out and the cases falling, there would be more business,” he said. “It doesn’t happen.”

Tourists remain wary of spending time with foreigners on a two-hour visit, and the limits of international travel are hampering business, he said. Before the pandemic, foreign tourists represented around 20% of its clientele. Now he rarely sees an international traveler and around 90% of his customers are locals.

April Clemmer, owner of Old Hollywood Walking Tours, a one-man business, said her business completely dried up when the pandemic struck. She took her reservation calendar and started giving virtual tours, during which clients could watch her presentation of 1930s Hollywood on their computer screens.

Private tours, which allow groups of family or friends to avoid the danger of walking near strangers, have also been helpful. Now that the virus has subsided, customers have started to inquire about public tours. “I feel like it’s starting again,” she said.

Clemmer is so optimistic that she is training a second tour guide to handle what she expects to be a summer wave.

Statewide, April employment increased in seven of California’s major industrial sectors. The biggest gain – 62,800 jobs in leisure and hospitality – is mainly due to the reopening of full-service restaurants, officials said.

The professional and business services sector, which includes lawyers, accountants and technical specialists, added 19,000 jobs. The payroll for the “other services” sector, which includes hairdressers, auto repair shops and other miscellaneous businesses, increased by 10,500.

The biggest loss was in the information industry, which lost 3,500 jobs, mostly in software publishing.

Los Angeles County payrolls added 34,600 jobs in April for a total of more than 4.14 million. The leisure and hotel sector represents 58% of new jobs. Jobs in health care and social assistance increased by 6,000.

Orange County payrolls added 23,800 jobs for a total of over 1.54 million. Leisure and hospitality accounted for 56% of the gain. Unemployment slipped to 6.2% from 6.3% in March.

The Inland Empire, which spans Riverside and San Bernardino counties, has created 6,700 salaried jobs for a total of over 1.51 million. Leisure and hospitality account for 4,500 of the new jobs. The unemployment rate was 7.6%, down from 7.7% in March.

Employment data for April is based on two federal surveys conducted in the second week of the month. The payroll jobs figures are based on a survey of 80,000 California companies. The unemployment rate is taken from a separate survey of 5,100 households.


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