Local Unemployment Dipped in May

a chart compares LA County's unemployment rate to Burbank's over the past year
Data Source: California Employment Development Department

As Los Angeles County moved into the state’s least restrictive tier of coronavirus restrictions, Burbank’s unemployment rate fell in May after a brief bump in April.
The local joblessness rate dipped from 12.3% in April to an estimated 11.2% in May, according to the most recent monthly figures from the California Employment Development Department, with the number of out-of-work residents falling from roughly 7,300 to 6,700. The lowest rate for the city since April 2020 was last November, when about 6,000 locals were unemployed — a rate of 10.5%.


Burbank’s highest pandemic-era unemployment rate was in May 2020, when 23.9% of its labor force was out of work. That percentage added up to about 13,500 people. In February of that year, the rate was 5.1%, representing just 3,100 people.
Between April and May this year, the city’s labor force — composed of residents currently working or looking for work — decreased from 59,500 to 59,400, while the number of employed residents increased from 52,200 to 52,800.
The data was collected after L.A. County entered the yellow tier amid falling coronavirus infection rates and a rising number of vaccinations. Bars were permitted to resume indoor service at 25% capacity while indoor capacity limits were raised for other businesses.
The county’s unemployment rate fell from 11.2% in April to an estimated 10.1% in May, or from roughly 572,900 to 519,500 unemployed residents. Its pandemic-era rate peaked at 20.8% in May 2020.
Those capacity limits were removed entirely on June 15. California officials also did away with social-distancing requirements and heavily revised mask requirements, allowing fully vaccinated residents to be indoors without face coverings in most instances.
The EDD reported that the state unemployment rate fell from about 8.1% in April to 7.5% in May, with more than 1.4 million residents still without work in May.
In L.A. County, the leisure and hospitality sector — which includes restaurants and independent artists, writers and performers — saw some of the largest job gains from April to May, increasing by about 3.6%, or by 34.1% from May 2020 to May 2021.
Other sectors saw milder changes. Retail trade jobs remained relatively flat, and motion picture and sound recording positions saw a 1.3% increase between April and May. The federal government sector saw job losses, as did grocery stores.
The EDD data is not seasonally adjusted, which means it doesn’t account for normal fluctuations in the unemployment rate such as those related to holiday periods or the school year.