Unemployment Dropped Steeply in February

Hundreds of local residents returned to work in February following the lifting of statewide coronavirus restrictions, reversing a steep increase in unemployment reported at the beginning of the year.
The South Pasadena unemployment rate fell from 9% in January to 7.1% in February, according to preliminary data from the state Employment Development Department. The latter figure is tied for the city’s lowest since April 2020; the unemployment rate fell to 7.1% in November before increasing over the following two months.
The decrease likely reflects Gov. Gavin Newsom’s lifting of restrictions in state regions whose intensive care units were overburdened. His lifting of the stay-at-home order in late January, which allowed
in-person dining to resume outdoors and loosened capacity limits for other businesses, accompanied falling COVID-19 hospitalizations and mounting political pressure, including a recall campaign.
About 13,400 South Pasadena residents reported working in February, up from 12,600 in January. The number of unemployed residents also fell from 1,200 to 1,000, while the city’s labor force swelled by about 600 people.
In February 2020, South Pasadena’s unemployment rate was 3.7%, representing about 600 unemployed workers.
Los Angeles County saw a similar decrease in its unemployment rate, from 12.7% in January to 10.9% in February. The county’s rate has historically been higher than South Pasadena’s.
The decrease in L.A. County’s unemployment rate represented a drop in its number of unemployed workers, from about 625,900 residents to 556,900.
California saw a less dramatic decrease, from 9% in January to 8.5% in February. Most of the job gains were in the “leisure and hospitality” industry, which includes hotels and restaurants. Education and health services also saw increases in employment, while the information and government sector reported losses.
The EDD’s data was not seasonally adjusted, meaning it did not compensate for changes in the job market attributable to holidays and other regular periods.