Business & Economy

Unemployment in LA County is at its lowest rate in 9 years

Job gains in June came in the leisure and hospitality fields, as well as professional and business services, which added 7,000 jobs.
Job gains in June came in the leisure and hospitality fields, as well as professional and business services, which added 7,000 jobs.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

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Los Angeles County's unemployment rate continues to tick down, hitting 4.8 percent in June, down slightly from 4.9 percent in May, and 2 full points lower than it was a year ago.

The unemployment rate in L.A. County hasn't been below 4.9 percent since March of 2007, which was just before the Great Recession.

Job gains in June came in the leisure and hospitality fields, which added 8,800 jobs. Those positions can be temporary and often don’t typically pay well, but better paying fields also saw strong gains, such as professional and business services, which added 7,000 jobs.

Overall, the county's employers have added more than 122,000 jobs in the past year, many in health care, education, hospitality and professional services.

"Los Angeles is actually doing better in recent months than it has," said Kimberly Ritter Martinez, chief economist at the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation.

The county's good employment news came as state and national unemployment rates ticked up. California's unemployment rate went from 5.2 percent in May to 5.4 percent in June. But Martinez explained the state numbers are actually encouraging because the slightly higher unemployment rate is a result of more people re-entering the labor market by beginning to look for a job.

"That's a good thing because when you have more people coming into the labor force that means they're more encouraged that there's a job out there for them," said Martinez. 

California's nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 40,300 in June. Since last June, 461,100 jobs have been added. 

There was a bit of bad news though, and it came in a field that’s been talked a lot about this election cycle; California has lost almost 8,000 manufacturing jobs in the past year. The only other sector to lose jobs over the last year is mining and logging, which shed 3,200 jobs.