The Los Angeles County unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent last month, according to state figures released Friday.

That’s down from 9.8 in September and 10.5 percent in October of last year. Total nonfarm employment in the county was up by 56,600, or 1.4 percent in October, compared with the same month last year.

The state Employment Development Department released numbers for both September and October on Friday due to delays in job reporting stemming from the government shutdown. The jobless rate for August was 10.1 percent.

Los Angeles has higher unemployment than the rest of California, which had a jobless rate of 8.7 percent in October, down from 10.1 percent a year ago.

Bright spots for L.A. County included leisure and hospitality, which added 18,500 jobs in the past year at hotels, bars and other establishments.

Manufacturing continued to lag. The sector lost 6,100 jobs in the past year.

The county’s overall picture is improving, said Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist at Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.

“It’s good to see the L.A. County labor market showing gains,” he said on a conference call with media. “It’s good to see those jobs come back.”

Brandi Britton, Los Angeles regional director for Robert Half International, a Menlo Park staffing firm, said there are other signs of confidence in the L.A. job market.

“We’re seeing a lot of people comfortable jumping ship to look for better jobs – across the board,” he said. “The companies they leave are now filling the positions, where before they might have left them vacant. So this is creating turnover and it’s definitely a sign of more confidence in the employment market."