L.A. County’s unemployment rate was unchanged in April at 7.6 percent amid modest job gains that left the county just short of its all-time payroll jobs peak, according to state figures released Friday.
The county gained 9,600 payroll jobs in April to reach a total of 4,318,700 nonfarm jobs. That’s just 2,500 jobs shy of the all-time high reached in December and is 19,000 jobs above the previous peak of December 2007, data from the California Employment Development Department showed.
The modest job gains were spread around a number of industries, led by increases in leisure/hospitality (up 4,300) and professional/business services (4,100). Government, the entertainment sector, construction and manufacturing also recorded slight job gains.
Several industries posted small losses in payroll jobs last month, including healthcare/social assistance (down 3,400) and financial activities (1,000).
In the more closely watched year-over-year jobs figures, county payrolls swelled by nearly 110,000 jobs for a robust annual growth rate of 2.6 percent, well above the typical growth rate since the recession.
Virtually all sectors reported strong year-over-year job gains, led by leisure/hospitality (up 19,700), healthcare/social assistance (16,000) and government (11,800). Only manufacturing didn’t join the party; employment in that sector has been flat.
The 7.6 percent unemployment rate, while unchanged from March, is down from 8.4 percent in April of last year and is now at the lowest level since June 2008.
That good news is relative, however, as L.A. County unemployment levels still exceed the statewide rate of 6.3 percent and are more than two percentage points above the national rate of 5.4 percent.
But for first time in recent years, unemployment in the county’s two largest cities was generally in line with the countywide rate; typically they have exceeded the county average. In April, Los Angeles recorded a 7.5 percent unemployment rate, while Long Beach posted 7.7 percent.