The California Employment Development Department reported that Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate remained stuck at 8 percent last month as the number of residents reporting they were working barely budged.

The county’s unemployment rate is down from 9.4 percent a year ago, but it remains higher than the statewide rate of 7.2 percent for November and way higher than the national rate of 5.8 percent. That’s because the county’s two largest cities, Los Angeles and Long Beach, posted unemployment rates of 8.8 percent.

Local employer payrolls for November grew by 29,400 jobs (0.7 percent) to 4.25 million, closing in on the county’s all time employment high of 4.29 million jobs reached in December 2007.

Seasonal retail hiring led the way, accounting for roughly half the total net job gain. Construction and education were next, each gaining roughly 4,000 jobs.

In the retail sector, the hiring has not been just for the sales floor staff that customers encounter as they walk in. It’s also been in the back office to handle the ever-increasing online sales volumes.

“We’ve seen very robust hiring in online and call-center environments, more so than in recent years,” said Chris Garza, vice president for the Los Angeles-Santa Barbara region at Robert Half International of San Ramon.

Adjusting for the seasonal hiring factor, the county gained a net 13,000 jobs, according to the state figures.

The only sector to experience significant job loss over the month was the notoriously volatile motion picture and sound recording industry, which shed 3,000 jobs, despite increased state tax credits designed to keep production from fleeing the state.

Overall, employers in the county added 60,000 jobs over the past 12 months, for a growth rate of 1.4 percent. The professional and business services sector led the way, with a net gain of 22,000 jobs, followed by health care/social assistance, up 19,000 jobs.

Despite holding steady in November, the manufacturing sector still posted the largest drop over the past 12 months, shedding 10,500 jobs.

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