Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daily Breeze: Los Angeles County jobless rate is now 10.5% - think that'll affect housing prices?

The January jobless rate increased from 9.2% in December to 10.5%. This is the highest since 1993, when Southern California was being battered by our previous housing downturn. This is also "the largest jump in history. Employment peaked in December of 2007. And it's been basically going down hill ever since," according to California's Employment Development Department representative Patrick Joyce.

The only sector to gain jobs was government, with a measly 300 positions. I have no idea what kinds of government jobs those are. Everything else, including education and health services, showed declines.

Just a few short years ago industry experts were claiming that employment in Los Angeles remained solid so we wouldn't see the housing problems that San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Miami were having. I'll repeat a quote from Dolores Conway of USC's Lusk School of Real Estate, which appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal in July 2008. (It's relatively recent, but at least she was considering a scenario in which events would continue to spiral downward):

If the bottom falls out of the economy and we have significant job losses, then everything will come down: home prices, rents, everything. That could take quite a while to work through.

If you've been watching the global economic fireworks, you may be well aware that economic projections forecasting continued deterioration usually end up being revised, frequently very substantially. Notice this July 16 Daily Breeze headline which projected Los Angeles County unemployment to hit 6.2%. In December we hit 9.2%. How off the mark was that?!?

Read the current story here.

County unemployment hits 10.5%


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