State adds 18,500 jobs in March
By LISA GIRION, Times Staff Writer
12:51 PM PDT, April 20, 2007
California employers added 18,500 jobs in March, down from a revised 23,600 a month earlier, but the number of residents without jobs and filing new claims for unemployment benefits inched up, state figures released today show.
Still, the state's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.8%, the state Employment Development Department said.
The monthly payroll survey also reported the state had a total of 15.2 million jobs in March. A separate survey of households found 17.3 million jobs, an increase of 64,000 over the previous month.
The household survey is considered less reliable but also more likely to pick up informal employment arrangements.
Seven job categories expanded in March, adding a total of 26,600 positions. They include construction; trade, transportation and utilities; information; professional and business services; educational and health services; leisure and hospitality; and government.
Four categories contracted, shedding a total of 8,100 jobs, half of them in manufacturing alone. Other categories showing declines were natural resources and mining; financial activities; and other services.
The contraction in financial services reflects the slumping housing sector and the woes among sub-prime mortgage companies, several of which are headquartered in Orange County and have initiated substantial staff cuts. And while the residential side of construction is contracting, booming commercial building is buoying that sector's overall employment picture.
The number of people unemployed in California was 876,000, an increase of 2,000 over February and 3,000 more than March of last year.
Of the unemployed, 366,900 were laid off, 92,300 left jobs on their own. The remaining were people looking for their first jobs, people re-entering the job market and people who completed temporary assignments.
The state Employment Development Department also reported that there were 352,742 people receiving regular unemployment insurance benefits during the March survey week. By comparison, 400,354 people were receiving such benefits in February, and 378,630 people were on unemployment in March 2006.
Also in March, 40,514 people made new claims for unemployment, up from 39,496 in February and 37,573 in a year earlier.
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