L.A.’s economy remained stuck in neutral in September as the unemployment rate was unchanged from August at 12.6 percent. The county posted a modest gain in the number of payroll jobs, mostly due to the hiring of teachers for the start of the school year.

The county’s unemployment rate was slightly higher than the state’s rate of 12.4 percent and substantially higher than the national rate of 9.6 percent, according to figures released Friday from the state Employment Development Department. Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate stood at 12.1 percent a year ago.

The unemployment rates for the county’s two largest cities, Los Angeles and Long Beach, dipped slightly to 13.7 percent.

The county gained 11,600 payroll jobs in September, with education making up the lion’s share of that increase. Private education showed a gain of 9,200 jobs while much of the 5,600 jobs gained in local government were attributed to the hiring of teachers at local public schools. Professional and business services also posted an increase of 4,400 jobs.

These gains were offset by small drops in construction, leisure and hospitality and manufacturing jobs.

Over the past 12 months, Los Angeles County saw a drop of 37,000 jobs, or about 1 percent. That drop matched the year-over-year decline posted in August.

The local government sector posted the largest year-over-year drop, shedding nearly 19,000 jobs. Manufacturing employment declined by 13,700 jobs.

In one of the few bright spots, the entertainment sector continued to post strong year-over-year job gains, rising by 12,000 jobs.

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