Burbank’s labor force reportedly hit its lowest point of the year in December, with a local unemployment rate that has been falling for months showing signs of stalling.
The city’s unemployment rate decreased slightly from 10.5% in November to 10.4% in December, according to preliminary data from the California Employment Development Department. The rate was similar to Los Angeles County’s figure of 10.7%, which remained flat between the two months.
But Burbank’s labor force, consisting of people who report either being employed or looking for work, saw a drop in December. The estimated labor force was 56,300 that month, a decline from November’s 57,500. The decrease reflected 1,100 fewer Burbank residents working in December compared with November.
In February, the city had its largest labor force since at least 2010, at 65,000 people, but a pandemic-induced recession caused that figure to drop to 56,500 in May.
The data released by the EDD is not seasonally adjusted, meaning it does not compensate for holidays, changes in weather and other regular factors that influence the workforce.
The EDD reported that the California unemployment rate had increased by about 0.9 percentage points from November to December, the first month-over-month increase in the statistic since April 2020, putting the state’s December unemployment rate at 9%.
As hospital systems reported increasing strain from a surge in coronavirus cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in early December a statewide health order that limited businesses’ indoor capacities, closed some sectors and prohibited outdoor dining. The EDD’s data was collected about a week after the order was given.
Motion picture and broadcasting sectors, with which Burbank is deeply connected, in L.A. County continued to see job gains from November to December, according to EDD data. But eating and drinking locations saw severe losses, reporting nearly 30,000 fewer jobs countywide.
Some recent announcements prompted hope for businesses, however. On Monday, Newsom lifted his order, saying that intensive care units were projected to rise back to healthy capacity levels by late-February. L.A. County officials quickly said they would issue a public health order on Friday scaling back their own restrictions to conform with the state’s decision.
State officials originally said the order would only be lifted for regions whose ICU capacities were at 15% or more, but Newsom’s announcement this week allowed counties to ease restrictions immediately.
It was at first unclear whether L.A. County public health officials would allow outdoor dining and other services to resume, as they had made the controversial decision to restrict the practice before the governor issued his order, but representatives announced the rollbacks Monday afternoon.