L.A. County’s unemployment rate dipped back below 5 percent in January despite the usual seasonal loss in payroll jobs, according to state figures released Friday.
The state Employment Development Department reported January’s unemployment rate at 4.9 percent, down from 5.1 percent in December and from 5.6 percent in January 2016. Some of that drop came as more L.A. County residents found work, but some also resulted from a slight drop of 1,000 in the county’s labor force of just over 5 million.
“We’ve seen a steadying of the unemployment rate at around 5 percent, which is indicative of a slower-growing economy,” said David Smith, associate professor of economics at the Graziadio School of Management at Pepperdine University.
The county’s unemployment rate was lower than the statewide average of 5.1 percent, but was slightly higher than the national rate of 4.8 percent.
Meanwhile, the county shed nearly 79,000 payroll jobs in January to almost 4.4 million, mostly due to seasonal drops after the end of the holiday season. The biggest drop came from the retail sector, where payroll jobs fell by 22,000; leisure/hospitality, including food services, was the next biggest loser, shedding 19,000 jobs.