By: Jim Skeen | Antelope Valley Press | July 21, 2018

Unemployment held at a record low level statewide and improved throughout the Antelope Valley in June.

Lancaster’s unemployment rate edged down from 6.5% in June 2017 to 6.4% this June. (Antelope Valley data is not seasonally adjusted. The Antelope Press uses only year-over-year comparisons for the region.) The city’s estimated number of jobless workers held steady at 4,200, according to estimates from the California Employment Development Department.

Lancaster saw a gain of 500 workers over the year, bringing its workforce size to 65,000. The number of employed workers also rose by 500, bringing the total to 61,300, according to EDD estimates.

Palmdale’s jobless rate was unchanged at 6.3% The city’s estimated number of jobless workers rose by 100 over the year to 4,100.

Palmdale’s workforce and number of employed workers also grew by 500 each to 64,900 and 60,800, respectively.

During a panel discussion at a meeting of the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance in June, Curtis Cannon, the economic development manager for the City of Palmdale, said much of the job growth is being driven by the big three aerospace companies Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman and by the light rail car manufacturer Kinkisharyo.

Cannon said he did a search on job boards for “aerospace engineer” and came back with 150 job openings, including 133 in Palmdale. 

In Lancaster, employment at BYD Motors has topped 800. The company envisions employing as much as 1,500 workers as it grows it electric vehicle sales.

Another bright spot for Lancaster’s job picture is Lance Camper, a truck camper and travel trailer manufacturer. It was announced in June the company will receive $1.5 million in state tax credits provided it adds 104 workers and invests $9.5 million in its Lancaster operations.

To receive the tax credits, Lance Camper must grow its workforce by 104 workers to 540 by 2021. The average annual pay of the workers must be over $30,000. Lance must maintain those milestones for three years.

In eastern Kern County, jobless rates fell for California City, 19.1% down to 18.3%; Mojave, 15.2% to 14.5%; and Rosamond, 10.3% to 9.8%.

California’s unemployment rate held at 4.2% for the third straight month. A year ago the jobless rate was 4.8%.

The state added just 800 jobs in June. Over the year, California added 269,100 jobs, a 1.6% gain.

A year ago, California was adding jobs at a 2.4% pace, said Robert Klenihenz, executive director of research at Beacon Economics.

Employers are finding it increasingly difficult to attract the talent they need to grow their businesses,” Klenihenz, said. “From June 2017 to June 2018, California ‘s labor force expanded by just 0.2%, significantly lower than the level needed to sustain the growth enjoyed in recent years.

The number of unemployed Californians was 814,00 in June – an increase of 6,000 over the month, and down by 112,000 compared with June 2017, the EDD reported.

Over the year, nine of California’s 11 industry sectors added a total of 272,800 jobs. The largest job gains were in educational and health services, up 75,800 jobs (a 2.9%), professional and business services, up 42,000 (1.6%) and leisure and hospitality, up 41,700 (2.1%).

The two lagging sectors were other services, down 3,400 jobs, and mining and logging, down 300 jobs.

Los Angeles County’s jobless rate edged up from 4.4% in May to 4.5% in June. The rate was 4.7% in June 2017.

Over the year, Los Angeles County added 66,400 jobs, a 1.5% increase.

Sectors making notable gains included health care and education (23,600 jobs), leisure and hospitality (22,100 jobs), and professional and business services (19,400 jobs).

Lagging sectors include trade, transportation and utlilities, down 4,800 jobs, and retail, down 4,200.

 

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