Health care helps power jobs rise

Employers in Los Angeles County posted more than 2,300 ads for registered nurses in February, according to the state Employment Development Department.

Providence Health & Services, operator of Burbank’s Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center and other regional hospitals, is among the companies posting the most ads.

In fact, the health care industry has been one of the steadiest economic sectors in recent years, and Doug Dickstein has seen it firsthand.

The owner of Right at Home In Home Care & Assistance in Glendale, Dickstein added 22 people to his payroll in 2010, bringing the number of workers at Glendale’s Right at Home franchise to 60.

“The reality is that in this particular field, we’re not necessarily affected as much by the economic downturn,” Dickstein said. “People can’t really control when we get sick or injured.”

Dickstein’s firm also benefits from people experiencing shorter hospital stays and choosing to recover at home after health setbacks. “People would prefer to stay in their homes, especially if they don’t need constant care,” he said.

California’s overall jobs picture in February was upbeat, EDD reported, with the state adding nearly 100,000 jobs. The jobless rate in Glendale and Burbank dropped faster than the state average.

Unemployment in Burbank fell from 10.7% in January to 10% in February, according to EDD. In Glendale, the rate dropped from 11.5% in January to 10.7% in February.

California’s jobless rate edged down from 12.4% in January to 12.2% in February, which is still well above the national figure of roughly 8.9%. Lingering trouble in the financial, housing and construction sectors — as well as government cutbacks — are among the reasons California is lagging.

In February, California’s motion picture industry added more than 10,000 jobs, an 8% increase compared to January. That figure reflects seasonal changes, as television series production generally picks up in the latter part of the first quarter. In January, for example, the industry dropped nearly 9,000 jobs compared to the month prior.

Yet during the last 12 months, the motion picture industry has grown from 116,000 jobs to 137,000, an 18% increase.

Retail jobs in the state slipped by 1.5% from January to February, with the hardest-hit category including book and music stores. In February, Borders books announced that it was seeking bankruptcy protection and that it would close roughly three dozen stores in California by April, including its store in Glendale.

In La Cañada Flintridge, the unemployment rate dipped from 5.1% in January to 4.8% in February.

In La Crescenta, the figure fell from 6.5% to 6.1%.

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