In 2007 the city of Palmdale, within Los Angeles County, declared its unemployment rate to be 6.8 percent. This rate was higher than the entire state of California which was recorded at 5.4 percent for that year, according to the California Employment Development Department.
The Council of Palmdale took action in November 2007 adding a section to its Municipal Code entitled, Economic Opportunities Program.
In an effort to bring jobs back to the city, the Ordinance states that all city contracts exceeding $50,000, for services, repairs, maintenance, and construction of public works or improvements shall require contractors to make a “good faith effort”, with the assistance of local, labor union hiring halls and other local agencies, to hire qualified individuals who are residents of the Antelope Valley.
The percentage of workers hired in this “good faith effort” was proposed to be no less than 50 percent of the contractor’s total work force.
Palmdale listed the following reasons for implementing this economic plan.
- Higher unemployment level in the City of Palmdale correlates to a higher number of families living in poverty and a higher crime rate.
- Traffic on state highways has increased due to commuting long distances to work.
- Pollution and an increase in the use of gas and other fuels and other serious environmental impacts.
- A lack of local jobs forces workers to leave for work very early in the morning and return late in the evening, often leaving children and teenagers alone and unsupervised during the hours between school
- Absentee parents and unsupervised youth can result in increased problems for families, communities and the City of Palmdale; including but not limited increased crime and increased high school dropout rates.
Details on measures of compliance, proper documentation and procedure can be found within Ordinance no. 1334.
After nearly four years from the date this Ordinance was written, California’s unemployment rate in January 2011 was 12.4 percent as reported by the Employment Development Department. This is an increase of 7 percent.
Unemployment in the city of Palmdale is at a rate of 16.2 percent. This is an increase of 9.4 percent.
Louis Dettorre can be reached at