Local Unemployment Rose in January

The unemployment rate in South Pasadena saw a major increase in January, according to newly released data, coinciding with renewed industry restrictions that have since been rolled back.
The California Employment Development Department recently reported that local unemployment rose from 7.4% in December to 9% in January. It represented a 20% increase in the number of unemployed workers, from 1,000 to 1,200. About 100 fewer residents were counted in the city’s labor force during that month, meaning they reported not being employed and not looking for work.
The increase in South Pasadena’s unemployment rate was the highest one-month jump the city had seen since the pandemic began. With the exception of a minor climb from November to December last year, the rate has been steadily falling since May, though it has yet to reach its pre-pandemic level of roughly 4%.

South Pasadena saw a slightly smaller swell in unemployment than the county, whose unemployment rate has seen a similar fluctuation as many of its cities. Los Angeles County experienced a jump in its unemployment rate from 10.7% to 12.7% in January, representing nearly 105,000 job losses. Like South Pasadena, January marked the county’s first major increase in the figure since March.
Since the preliminary data was collected in mid-January, it does not reflect the reversal of restrictive state and county health orders, which were implemented in response to rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
Officials have slowly rolled back those health orders since late January. On Monday, indoor dining resumed in many California counties, including L.A., at 25% restaurant capacity. Movie theaters, museums, gyms and other locations have reopened with similar restrictions, while retail stores had their capacity caps increased to 50%.
A data release for February will likely capture some earlier rollbacks, such as the return of outdoor dining, when the EDD publishes in the information later this month.
Statewide, the EDD reported, unemployment dropped slightly from 9.3% in December to 9% in January. But 70,000 fewer workers were employed.
The department’s unemployment data was not seasonally adjusted, meaning it did not account for regular changes in employment that occur during holiday seasons, school breaks and other expected periods.