Valley Briefs Valley Lags in Employment in July Parts of the greater San Fernando Valley along with the rest of the city of Los Angeles, lagged Los Angeles County in jobs for the month of July. The unemployment rate in Los Angeles County fell to 6.2 percent in July from June’s 6.7 percent and a full percentage point below the rate of 7.3 percent one year ago, state officials said Friday. Civilian employment in the county grew by 11,000, to 4.5 million in July, while unemployment dropped by 26,000 to an even 300,000, according to the state Employment Development Department. In cities in the San Fernando Valley and surrounding areas, however, unemployment actually increased, analysts said. In the city of Los Angeles, the unemployment rate was actually up slightly, from 7.7 percent in June to 7.9 percent in July. Increases in the unemployment rate were also seen in Agoura Hills, up from 3.3 percent in June to 3.4 percent; Burbank, from 4.7 percent to 4.8 percent; Glendale, from 6.4 percent to 6.5 percent; Lancaster, from 6.4 percent to 6.6 percent; Palmdale, from 6.3 percent to 6.6 percent; San Fernando, from 8.9 percent to 9.1 percent; and Santa Clarita, from 3.2 percent to 3.3 percent. That may stem from losses in industries that are traditionally strong employers in the Valley and surrounding areas, including public education (down 22,500 jobs); and the motion picture and recording industry, down 9,700 jobs, according to the state. Woodbury Offers Help Woodbury University has launched an online job posting system to connect local employers with the students at the Burbank-based school. The free service is available at www.ecampusrecruiter.com/woodbury. School officials said the job site may be used for part-time and full time positions and internships. Woodbury offers various undergraduate programs and an MBA program. Firm Changes Name California Amplifier Inc. has changed its name to CalAmp Corp. to better reflect the company’s current roster of products and services. CalAmp manufactures the outdoor reception equipment subscribers need for satellite television service, including the dish and outdoor electronics that convert the signal, and it is also involved in technology consulting, software development and production of electronic devices and equipment. The company will continue to trade under its current Nasdaq ticker, CAMP. Pacoima Homes Open A development consisting of 39 detached townhomes is opening in Pacoima, the first single-family home project built in the area since the 1980s. Built by Manhattan Beach-based Comstock Homes, Sonoma Villas will be priced in the mid-$300,000 range for homes between 1,757 square feet and 1,793 square feet. The community includes a children’s recreation area. The project is located at 12453 Dronfield Avenue, near Van Nuys Boulevard. ECHO Gets Boost Electronic Clearing House Inc., a Camarillo-based company that provides debit and credit card processing and other payment services to merchants and banks, reported earnings of $651,000 or $0.09 per diluted share on revenues of $12.2 million for the three months ended June 30, 2004. That compares with net income of $308,000 or $0.05 per share on revenues of $10.6 million for the comparable period last year. “Third quarter results were favorably affected by revenue growth in all business segments and a decrease in interest expense due to the repayment of loans associated with the sale of the building formerly housing ECHO’s executive offices in March 2004,” officials said in a press release. For the full year, ECHO said it expected revenue to increase 16 percent to 20 percent and income from operations growth between 7 percent and 9 percent. Council Approves BID Funds The Los Angeles City Council approved an allocation of $41,432 to develop a Business Improvement District in the northeast San Fernando Valley along the San Fernando Road corridor. “This seed money represents a new beginning for the San Fernando Road corridor,” said Council President Alex Padilla, who represents the area. “A BID is one of the tools we have in the City of Los Angeles to revitalize our communities and to give a much-needed boost to small and family-owned businesses that are the anchor of our region’s economy.” The BID’s boundaries were not finalized, but they would be in the area of the San Fernando Road corridor stretching from Sylmar to Pacoima. Fernando Award Luncheon The annual recognition process for Fernando Award, the highest award for volunteerism in the San Fernando Valley, will begin with a luncheon Aug. 19 at the Hilton Woodland Hills. The event will begin with a reception at 11:30 a.m., followed by a 12 noon lunch. Cost is $45 per person and the event is open to the public. The 10 nominees include Jill Banks Barad, founder and interim chair of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council; Charlotte Bedard, president, vice president and chair of the beautification of the Sylmar Chamber of Commerce; Karl Boeckmann, Juvenile Justice Connection Project; Jon Eshbach, postmaster of Sun Valley; Fred Gaines, past president of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association; Dorothy Jean Jauck, board member and secretary of the Canoga Park/West Hills Chamber of Commerce; J. Richard Leyner, chairman of the Child Development Institute; William F. Powers, Jr., Chatsworth attorney and former president of the Chatsworth/Porter Ranch Chamber of Commerce; Kathleen Sterling, volunteer at the Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce; and Pauline Tallent, former president of the Winnetka Chamber of Commerce. AML Communications Results Camarillo-based AML Communications reported net sales of $2.17 million for the first quarter ended June 30, compared with $1.54 million for the same period last year. Net earnings were $326,000, or $0.04 per share, compared with $223,000, or $0.03 per share, a year ago. “With defense revenues for the quarter growing by more than 40 percent compared with the same period last year, we remain highly focused on key customers in the sector,” said Jacob Inbar, president and CEO of AML. AML designs, manufactures and markets amplifiers and related products for the defense microwave and wireless communications markets. Unico Net Increases Unico American Corp. in Woodland Hills said it earned $1.2 million or $0.22 per diluted share on revenues of $15.2 million for the second quarter ended June 30, 2004. The insurance company reported earnings of $561,276 or $0.10 per diluted share on revenues of $12.3 million for the comparable period a year ago.