LA County jobless rate rises to 12.4 percent in July

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People looking for jobs wait in line to speak with potential employers at the Brooklyn Job Fair on April 13, 2011 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

California's unemployment rate climbed to 12 percent in July, the state Employment Development Department reported today, with the jobless rate in Los Angeles County placed at 12.4 percent. California added just 4,500 new jobs in July, while last month, there were 30,500 new jobs.

Today's report showed much weaker job growth in July than in June, continuing a pattern of spotty economic recovery.

The statewide figure was two-tenths of a percentage point higher than the unemployment rate in June. That's the first time it's hit 12 percent since March. Most industries added jobs, but big reductions in government payrolls shrank the net gains.

In Los Angeles County, the July rate was four-tenths of a percentage point above the 12 percent rate the previous month.

At 12 percent, California's jobless rate is second-highest in the United States, with Nevada's 12.9 percent unemployment rate topping the list. National unemployment in July was 9.1 percent.

A survey of California businesses in July counted 14.1 million payroll jobs, up 1.4 percent in a year.

"Certainly, in August there’s been a lot of fireworks in the financial markets, that suggest that there could be another pause, but I’m not, at this point, ready to make any changes to our forecast at LAEDC of modest gains in employment for this year and better next year," said Nancy Sidhu, the chief economist with the LA Economic Development Corporation.

KPCC's Shereen Marisol Meraji contributed to this report.

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