The local recovery is shaping up to be painfully slow as L.A. County is expected to gain only 24,000 jobs this year, with unemployment hovering near 12 percent through 2012, according to a forecast released Wednesday.

The annual forecast from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. projects a mere 0.6 percent payroll job growth this year after a loss of 63,500 jobs last year. Next year, job growth should be more robust, with the LAEDC projecting 70,000 new jobs.

The unemployment rate is expected to average 12.4 percent this year, about the same as last year, as more people re-enter the labor force looking for work. That’s well above the current national unemployment rate of 9 percent. Next year, the local rate is expected to edge down to 11.7 percent.

“The Los Angeles economy appears to be past the bottom of the recession and is starting up the recovery path during 2011 and 2012,” said LAEDC Chief Economist Nancy Sidhu.

Leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, health services and retail trade are all expected to post modest job gains this year. But local governments will shed nearly 19,000 jobs amid record budget deficits.

However, local government coffers should be helped by improving retail sales, which are expected to post 5.7 percent growth this year and 6.3 percent next year. Similar rates of increase are expected for international trade, which has just come off a record surge of 23 percent during 2010.

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