Local Unemployment Numbers Dipped Last Month

a chart shows glendale unemployment decreasing from may 2020 to may 2021
Data: California Employment Development Department

As Los Angeles County moved into the state’s least restrictive tier of coronavirus restrictions, Glendale’s unemployment rate fell last month following a brief bump in April.

The local unemployment rate dipped from 11.1% in April to an estimated 10.4% in May, according to the California Employment Development Department, with the number of out-of-work residents falling from roughly 11,500 to 10,800. The lowest rate for the city since April 2020 was in November, when about 10,500 locals were unemployed — 10.3% of the labor force.

Glendale’s highest pandemic-era unemployment rate was in May 2020, when 21.9% of its labor force — about 21,300 people — were out of work. That rate in February 2020 was 4.2%, representing just 4,400 people.

Between April and May this year, the city’s labor force — composed of residents currently working or looking for work — increased from 103,800 to 104,100, while its number of employed residents increased from 93,200 to 93,400.

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. L.A. County’s rate has historically been slightly higher than Glendale’s, peaking in the past year at 20.8% in May 2020, but has dropped below the city’s rate at some points during the pandemic.

Those capacity limits were removed entirely last week on the long-awaited day of 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 last month.

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, while 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.