Unemployment in Los Angeles County held steady at 8.1 percent in July even as the county lost 58,000 jobs due to schools letting out for summer, according to state figures released Friday.
The Employment Development Department reported the jobless rate was down from 10 percent a year ago. But that still exceeded the state average of 7.4 percent and was nearly two full points above the national average of 6.2 percent.
Education accounted for the lion’s share of the losses as public and private educational institutions shed 41,000 jobs during July.
Most of the losses were seasonal as schools let out for the summer and substitute teachers and other employees on year-to-year employment contracts saw their work end. In previous years, most of these teachers and other employees were rehired as the new school year starts.
But net job losses also hit other industries. The social assistance sector shed nearly 4,000 jobs, while the entertainment sector lost 2,400 jobs, wholesale trade 2,200 and construction 1,500.
Only one industry saw a slight gain, leisure and hospitality, up a net 400 jobs. The professional and business services segment was flat.
Brandi Britton, Los Angeles region district manager for Robert Half International, a Menlo Park staffing firm, said she saw the figures as a summertime blip. Many employers have hit their hiring budgets for their fiscal year and have been forced to wait on hiring until their next year gets under way.
“We’re seeing a lot of people planning for future hires later in the year and into 2015, just not immediately,” she said.
On a year-over-year basis, employer payrolls increased by a net 69,000 positions, or 1.7 percent countywide. Professional and business services rose 27,600, social assistance jobs rose by 16,000 and retail trade gained nearly 10,000 jobs.
Manufacturing remained in a long-term decline, shedding 15,000 jobs over the past year.
Los Angeles, the largest city in the region, reported unemployment of 9.6 percent in July compared to 9.1 percent the previous month.
The largest cities in the greater Valley region also saw their unemployment rates rise. Lancaster had the highest rate at 12.3 percent, an increase from 11.6 in June. Nearby Palmdale reported 10.8 percent, compared to 10.2 in June.
In the east San Fernando Valley, Glendale’s rate was 7.6 percent, up from 7.1 percent in June, and Burbank’s was 7 percent, a significant increase from 5.6 percent in June. Santa Clarita’s rate rose three tenths of a point to 5.3 percent.