Los Angeles County's unemployment rate climbed to 5.1 percent in May from 4.7 percent from April as more job seekers hit the market and the educational and health sectors cooled off.
Even as payroll employment increased by nearly 10,000 jobs to 4,023,000, the unemployment figures reflected the larger number of people seeking work as the summer months approached.
Statewide, the unemployment rate rose to 5 percent from 4.9 percent in April, but that was still down from the 5.4 percent rate a year ago in May. The May civilian labor force in the state jumped to 4,894,400 from 4,859,900 the prior month and 4,794,100 in the year-ago period.
"The economy is firing on all pistons with growth taking place in virtually all sectors," said Dr. Sean Snaith, director of the University of the Pacific's Business Forecasting Center, remarking on the statewide results.
Countywide, the educational and health services sector was the only one of 11 industries tracked by the state department that posted an employment loss in May. The industry bled 1,700 jobs for a total of 478,800.
Gaining the most was the information sector, with most of the increase stemming from hiring in the motion picture and sound recording field. Information jobs jumped 3,300 to 208,300 for the month.
The retail sector, considered a key indicator of economic health, inched upward for the month, adding 1,000 jobs since April for a total of 409,300. Year-over-year, retailers posted gains of 4,000 jobs.
At the local level, the city of Los Angeles posed an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent, up from 5.1 percent in April. Long Beach recorded a rate of 5.6 percent, up from 5.2 percent in April.
The lowest unemployment rate in L.A. County cities with more than 100,000 population was Torrance at 2.3 percent, followed by Santa Clarita at 2.8 percent. The highest unemployment rate among larger cities was Lancaster at 6.7 percent, followed by Inglewood at 6.1 percent.
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