Friday, February 27, 2009

Unemployment Friday: Double Digits

The state's unemployment rate has now cracked the 10% barrier. The downwardly revised data now shows about 500,000 jobs lost in the state since the beginning of the recession. I'll admit that this a close match to our original forecast for the bottom we predicted in the 3rd quarter of 2009.

I wish I could say that means the state has bottomed 6-9 months earlier than we thought, but the reality is that the bottom will be lower and the timing won't change much.

In terms of sectors, the number that really jumps out in this month's state report is a 6% one month decline in movie production employment. I have a friend who is a writer/director in LA (no one famous, but in the business) and he emailed me his thoughts this afternoon ...
I know many people out of work... many of my pals, actors and writers, who have seemed to work very steadily have been doing very little. there is fear --- and fewer movies/TV shows are getting greenlit...
we had a devastating strike that ended exactly one year ago (WGA, writers guild) --- then we have the fear of yet another strike from SAG (screen actors guild) --- that potential strike is not yet settled, it won't happen, but it's been a dark cloud for the past year. If you green light a movie for $50 million and start shooting in April, but SAG calls a strike at the start of May... well, you're ------. There's no "grandfather" clause for productions who are already in production. Your actors cannot film.... So, everyone is waiting....

Most other sectors are dismal too. Interestingly, retail shows no change in the seasonally adjusted numbers. That's because retail layed off the usual number of people in January. The problem is they very little temp. help for the holidays, so these layoffs represent permanent jobs and not the usual holiday help.

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