Local unemployment rates edge up despite some job gains

Local unemployment rates edged up slightly in May, even as the motion picture and sound recording industries — major business drivers in the area — posted strong job growth, according to the latest figures released today.

In Glendale, the unemployment rate increased to 10.6% in May, up from 10.3% the month before. The rate increased to 9.9% in Burbank, up from 9.7% in April, according to the California Employment Development Department.

In the area served by the Verdugo Workforce Investment Board, which includes Burbank, Glendale, La Crescenta and La Cañada Flintridge, the unemployment rate was at 10%, far lower than the 12.3% for Los Angeles County.

In La Cañada , the unemployment rate was 4.7%, according to the state. The rate was 6% in La Crescenta.

Despite the slip in employment gains, Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, said gains in the entertainment industries meant not all was sour.

There has been a boom in television commercial production and in scripted shows, he said, and studio recoveries were in full swing, especially at NBC, which is overcoming its late night line up debacle with Jay Leno.

The state film credit was also continuing to drive growth, Kyser said.

The motion picture and sound recording industries added roughly 2,600 jobs in May, and was 20% more robust compared to the same period last year, according to the state figures.

The disparity between the industry job growth figures and unemployment rates could be attributed to different survey methods used for each of the categories, Kyser said.

The entertainment-related industries are especially significant for Burbank and Glendale since they feed a large network of support businesses, from catering to post-production and marketing.

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