L.A. County’s unemployment rate edged up to 4.5 percent in June as more county residents were looking for work, according to state figures released July 20.

The end of the school year sent substitute teachers and other school employees on shorter contracts looking for work, causing school payrolls to drop slightly, the state Employment Development Department reported. Also, the local labor force grew by 5,000 to nearly 5.15 million as more people entered the labor force looking for work.

The unemployment rate was below the 4.7 percent L.A. County recorded in June 2017. But it was higher than the 4.2 percent unemployment rate the state registered last month and the 4.0 percent national figure.

L.A. County’s two largest cities, Los Angeles and Long Beach, reported the same 4.9 percent unemployment rate in June, up sharply from 4.1 percent in May. The city with the lowest unemployment rate was Palos Verdes Estates at 1 percent, while rates in some small unincorporated communities were as high as 12 percent.

Meanwhile, employers in Los Angeles County reported a net addition of 4,400 payroll jobs in June – less than the 15,700 reported in May – for a total of 4,495,200 jobs. The state EDD also adjusts for seasonal factors, such as the end of the academic year; taking that adjustment into account, the monthly gain was 8,800 payroll jobs.

The healthcare/social assistance sector posted the biggest monthly increase in June from May levels, up 4,600 jobs, followed by professional, scientific and technical services, up 3,900 jobs, and financial services, up 1,600 jobs.

As expected, the biggest loser was education; private education services lost a net 7,900 jobs, while public sector education employment dropped by 2,200 for a total drop in education of about 10,000 jobs.

For the 12 months ending in June, payroll employment rose by a net 66,400 jobs, for a 1.5 percent gain. Professional/business services posted the biggest 12-month gain, adding a net 19,400 jobs, followed by health care/social assistance (up 18,200 jobs) and accommodation/food services (up 11,600 jobs).

Retail employment suffered the biggest loss, dropping a net 4,200 jobs over the 12 months ending in June; about half of that came from job losses at clothing/accessory stores.

Manufacturing employment, which has been on a years-long decline, managed to remain steady during the 12 months ending in June at about 351,000 jobs.

Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.

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