L.A. County lost a whopping 74,000 payroll jobs in January, pushing the unemployment rate up to 12.5 percent, according to state Employment Development Department figures released Friday.

The unemployment rate was up two tenths of a point since December and matched the statewide figure – both of which are considerably higher than the 9.7 percent national rate. It also is significantly higher than the 10.1 percent rate the county posted in January 2009.

The loss of 74,000 jobs represents a 2 percent fall in payroll employment. The carnage was widespread, with nine of 11 major industry sectors reporting losses, led by drops in retail, business services, entertainment and private education.

The loss was even greater year-over-year, a closely watched figure. There have been 176,500 payroll jobs lost since January 2010, amounting to 4.5 percent of payrolls. Professional and business services, manufacturing, construction and government all suffered big losses.

Part of the explanation for January’s disappointing figures was due to an annual statistical revision of the data. Local economists had expected the revision to result in larger job losses.

Unemployment data for cities within the county won’t be released until March 10.

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