Los Angeles County’s November jobs report showed a moderating unemployment rate of 12.2 percent, down from 12.5 percent in October, due to a decline in the labor force. Payroll job declines improved from 3.8 percent lower than last year in October to 3.5 percent lower than last year in November.

The sectors that are getting hit the hardest at this point in the cycle are construction, manufacturing, information/technology, retail trade, financial, professional/technical, and leisure/hospitality. Public sector job losses, while non-existent in this cycle until July 2009, accelerated in September 2009. We believe that they will accelerate yet more sometime during 2010 as the state government eventually becomes forced to layoffs as a way to contain deficit and debt growth.

How has Los Angeles County’s job market fared during this cycle compared with the early 1990s? This is an interesting question as Los Angeles County had a major downsizing of its aerospace and defense industries during the 1990s, resulting in a much worse economic contraction than the United States had.

From the chart below, we see that, so far, Los Angeles County is not suffering as much as it did during the 1990s. The severity has been about as bad, but monthly job changes at or worse than 4 percent losses have been limited to only 6 months during this cycle as compared with 17 months during the 1990s. If the recent moderation in Los Angeles County job losses continues, then the County will still be able to say that the 1990s cycle was the worse-ever for them.