L.A. County’s unemployment rate rose in December to 12.4 percent from 12.2 percent in November as the professional service, construction and manufacturing sectors shed jobs.

Figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department showed the county unemployment rate was up sharply from 9.2 percent a year ago.

Statewide, the jobless rate was also 12.4 percent for December, higher than the national rate of 10 percent.

The unemployment rate was even higher in the county’s two largest cities, Los Angeles and Long Beach. Both reached 13.2 percent. Two other county cities, Commerce and Compton, had rates above 20 percent.

For the second straight year, local employers shed payroll jobs in December. Total nonfarm employment in L.A. County decreased by 2,300 jobs to about 3.9 million. Professional and business services led the decline, losing 5,000 jobs.

In the closely watched year-over-year payroll jobs figures, Los Angeles lost 115,000 jobs in 2009, a drop of 2.9 percent. That’s one of the sharpest annual declines since the recession of the early 1990s.

The biggest decline was in manufacturing, which lost 30,000 jobs in 2009. Professional and business services shed 25,000 jobs and retail trade dropped by nearly 12,000 jobs. Public sector jobs lost a total of 10,000.

Two major bright spots in the local economy continued to add jobs. Private education gained 8,000 jobs in 2009 and health care rose by 1,600 jobs.

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