Employment in LA, Pandemically Speaking

Los Angeles – like the rest of the country and indeed the world – has experienced huge loss in employment since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.  One estimate puts the number for LA County at 1-in 8 workers with unemployment numbers, tripling from their regular count.

What is of note is where the jobs were lost.  Not surprisingly, is that the tourist and leisure industries have been most hard hit with a 33% loss compared to pre-pandemic numbers in entertainment, food, retail and tourism.  Overall, the pandemic peak of LA’s unemployment rate was 18.8% as compared with 10.9% pre-pandemic. It doesn’t seem so bad. Except when you look at the numbers for February 2020 (when employment figures were going up nicely), you see a mere 4.7% of unemployed and then when you compare that to the current numbers it is an increase in just one year of 232%.

So where is the good news in all this? Well, the successful vaccine rollout has resulted in LA County having moved to an orange tier and more re-openings are happening. This means that restaurants, bars, wineries, gyms, fitness parks, outdoor live events etc. can all begin re-opening which will of course hopefully result in a direct jump in re-employment numbers.

LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis seems to indicate there is room for optimism:

“After a year of fear, anxiety and tragic loss, we’re seeing glimmers of hope once more, but this didn’t happen just by accident — this was because of our collective hard work. So, while we push to get as many people as possible fully vaccinated and have the finish line of this pandemic in sight, let’s make sure that we finish strong. Let’s enjoy our hard-earned opportunities in the orange tier responsibly. Let’s continue to wear our masks, stay physically distant and avoid large indoor gatherings, if possible.”