Los Angeles County’s jobs picture improved in May as the unemployment rate dipped to 11.4 percent and the county added nearly 12,000 jobs, according to figures released Friday.

The county’s unemployment rate fell last month from 11.6 percent in April, the state Employment Development Department reported. The decline bucked the trend of increased seasonal unemployment as schools let out and people look for summer jobs. The rate has fallen nearly a full percentage point from the 12.3 percent level recorded a year ago.

However, L.A. County’s unemployment rate still exceeds the statewide average of 10.8 percent and is far above the national rate of 8.2 percent.

Locally, the county’s two largest cities – Los Angeles and Long Beach – posted unemployment rates of 12.2 percent, down from 13 percent earlier this year.

The jump in the county’s payroll jobs was led by a surge in hiring at local eateries, which added 6,500 jobs. Unlike the unemployment figures, which are derived from a household survey, the payroll jobs data come from a sampling of local company payroll filings with the state.

Two sectors that have struggled recently rebounded in May: Local manufacturers add 2,800 jobs – mostly in nondurable goods such as food and clothing – and construction added 2,100 jobs.

The private education sector posted the largest drop in May payroll jobs, 3,300, as many private schools let out for the summer.

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