Southern California unemployment down, but higher than the nation's

A jobs sign hangs above the entrance to

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

A jobs sign hangs above the entrance to the US Chamber of Commerce building in Washington, DC.

The number of unemployed people in Southern California dropped in November. But California still lags behind the rest of the country in putting people back to work.

Nationwide, unemployment figures from December show about 1 in 12 Americans still out of work.

The federal Bureau of Labor statistics for local areas are a month behind. And California’s November unemployment rate is more than 3 percent higher than the country's.

But there is some good news: Southern California’s employment rate continues to improve. Orange County is doing better than the nation as a whole. L.A. County’s unemployment numbers dropped nearly one-and-a-half percent over last year.

Times are still tough in the Inland Empire, where about 1 in 8 people are looking for work. But that’s a 2 percent drop over a year ago for the Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario areas.

Better news may lie ahead as the local December figures become available: nationwide, unemployment continued to drop at the end of 2011.

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