Construction industry employment has been one of the fastest growing job sectors in Los Angeles County over the last year, driven in large part by a resurgent housing market and continued demand for multi-family housing.
The labor market recovery in the East Bay has been relatively lackluster during recent months, although the slowdown is expected to be temporary. According to the California Employment Development Department, the East Bay’s August payroll number was 992,200, just about the average of the preceding months. On a year-over-year basis, nonfarm employment increased by 0.8%, or 7,800 jobs in total.
The South Bay continues to be one of the regions driving California’s overall employment growth. For the first eight months of 2013, total nonfarm employment in the South Bay was up 3% over the same period last year. The state, on the other hand, was up 1.7%.
Each year, growth in the Inland Empire labor market edges up, as the region continues its slow, steady march out of the Great Recession. As of August 2013, total nonfarm employment in the Inland Empire stood at 1.2 million, which is 9% below the region’s peak employment level set in July of 2007. Since August 2012, the region has added back 6,900 nonfarm payroll jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, a 0.6% year-over-year increase. This is a lower rate of growth than in the state overall (1.5%), but it is important to remember that the Inland Empire was one of the hardest hit regions in California after the housing bubble burst.
The San Francisco Metropolitan Division (MD) continued its leading role in California’s employment recovery in the third quarter of 2013. In August, the region added over 21,000 jobs on a year-over-year basis. That 2.1% increase represented the fourth fastest growth rate in California behind San Jose, the Central Coast, and Orange County. The San Francisco MD is one of a handful of regions in the state to have exceeded their pre-recession peak employment levels.
San Diego County continues to be a key driver of employment growth in Southern California’s economy. Behind Orange County, it has been Southern California’s second fastest recovering job market. Since nonfarm employment hit bottom in February 2010, San Diego County has added back more than 66,000 jobs, a 5.5% increase. This is stronger than the growth experienced in Los Angeles (5.1%), the Inland Empire (3.7%), or the rest of Southern California (4.8%). In addition, San Diego’s unemployment rate dipped from nearly 11% in 2010 to 7.2% in August 2013. This is well below the statewide average of 8.9%, and is again only second to Orange County in Southern California.
California has experienced negative domestic migration in recent years. The increase in the number of residents moving out of the Golden State to other places in the United States is often blamed on California’s high personal income taxes. In fact, this was one of the main arguments waged against the recently enacted Proposition 30, which raised the statewide income tax rate as a way to address the state’s fiscal woes. However, data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the perceived connection between out-migrants and the state’s income tax is likely overblown. Statistics on the characteristics of California’s inbound and outbound migrants suggest that the patterns in domestic migration over the past decade are more related to housing costs in the state than to the local income tax structure.
Regional economic forecasts for San Francisco, East Bay, San Diego, South Bay, Los Angeles, and Inland Empire