Saturday, December 23, 2006

California adds an above average 15,900 jobs in November

SF Gate Return to regular view
California adds an above average 15,900 jobs in November
- By GARY GENTILE, AP Business Writer
Friday, December 22, 2006

(12-22) 14:21 PST Los Angeles (AP) --

California added 15,900 payroll jobs in November and the gain, though modest, was encouraging as the state and the nation braces for a slower economy in 2007.

Gains were spread across nine industries, with the largest number of jobs, 3,600, added in the information industry, which includes film and television, telecommunications and publishing, the state Employment Development Department said Friday.

California's unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.6 percent in November from 4.5 percent in October. The unemployment rate in November 2005 was 5.1 percent.

Economists said the increase in jobs was higher than expected and welcome, coming as it does in the fourth quarter of the year when economic growth is expected to slow.

"The job gains were distributed over nine of 11 industry sectors," said Howard Roth, chief economist of the California Department of Finance. "It's always good to see it spread around."

Other job categories that saw gains in November were natural resources and mining, professional and business services and government.

Two categories, leisure and hospitality — which includes amusement parks and spectator sporting activities — and "other services" shed a total of 1,600 jobs in November.

The state accounted for 12 percent of the 132,000 payroll jobs added nationwide in November, slightly more than its usual contribution of about 11 percent.

Construction jobs were down in November, compared to the previous month as well as November of last year.

"The housing slowdown is starting to show up," said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.

While film and television jobs increased, especially in Los Angeles County, trouble looms for the industry.

The Writers Guild of America contract with Hollywood studios expires in October and the union has rejected an early start to negotiations.

Contracts with actors and directors are set to expire in 2008.

The number of Californians looking for work in November rose to 824,000, an increase of 30,000 from October. About 289,300 of the job seekers had been laid off, the state said.

The state also revised October payroll job gains to 10,600, an increase of 1,300 jobs from the previously reported total.

In all, about 15 million people held payroll jobs in California in October.

Roth said economists are holding their breath as the new year begins with expectations of slow economic growth.

"It looks like both the U.S. and California economies are going into 2007 with not too much momentum," Roth said.


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©2006 Associated Press

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