L.A.’s unemployment rate held steady last month at 8 percent, even as local employers added 35,000 jobs to their payrolls, mostly in education, according to state figures released Friday.

The Employment Development Department reported that the improvement in the unemployment rate stalled last month as the number of residents reporting they were working barely budged. But the unemployment rate is still down from 9.6 percent a year ago.

Yet L.A.’s unemployment rate remains higher than the statewide rate of 7.3 percent for October and way higher than the national rate of 5.8 percent. That’s because the county’s two largest cities, Los Angeles and Long Beach, posted unemployment rates of 8.7 percent.

Local employer payrolls for October grew by 35,000 jobs (0.8 percent) to 4.22 million, the highest level since the recession began in December 2007.

More than half the net gain in jobs came from the education sector, which added more than 20,000 workers last month. Most of these gains came in higher education, evenly split between public and private universities.

The next biggest jobs gainer was the retail and transportation/distribution sector, up 7,000.

“We’ve seen big increases in warehouse/transportation workers to get out the products to get them on store shelves in time for the holidays,” said Mara Klug, vice president with the Los Angeles office of Adecco, a staffing firm based in Glattbrugg, Switzerland.

Adjusting for these seasonal hiring trends in education, retail and distribution, the county actually posted a net loss of 13,000 payroll jobs, with the total dipping below 4.2 million, the Employment Development Department reported.