Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate dipped to 4.4% in August as several sectors reported robust hiring.

The state Employment Development Department reported Sept. 20 that the unemployment rate fell from 4.5%, where it had hovered for the previous three months. The rate is near the record low of 4.2%, reached earlier this year. In August 2018, the unemployment rate was 4.6%.

The county’s unemployment rate is slightly higher than the statewide average of 4.1% and is well above the national average of 3.7%.

The unemployment rate, which is based on a monthly household survey, fell due to a 2,000-person increase in the number of people reporting they were working in August, bringing that total to 4.87 million.

The EDD also reported that the number of people on employer payrolls in L.A. County shot up by 27,000 in August to reach 4.54 million. The increases were spread throughout several sectors, including professional/business services (up 9,000 jobs) healthcare/social assistance (up 6,300) and local government education (up 6,200). The education increase came as K-12 schools geared up for the new academic year.

On the negative side, the arts/live entertainment/recreation sector reported a drop of 1,900 jobs in August from July levels. The construction segment posted a drop of 1,500 jobs.

The EDD takes into account seasonal variations such as increases in education hiring by releasing a seasonally adjusted payroll jobs figure that’s closely watched by economists. In August, the adjusted figure showed a gain of 10,000 jobs from July.

For the 12-month period ending in August, employers added 59,000 jobs to their payrolls, a growth rate of 1.3% from August 2018. That’s on the high end of year-over-year job growth rates, which have hovered around 1% for the last several months.

The healthcare/social assistance sector gained the most jobs over the past year, adding 21,700 positions. Professional/business services was next, adding 14,200 jobs. And construction added 9,600 jobs. Local government educational services shed the most jobs, dropping by 8,100.

Education, energy, engineering/construction and infrastructure reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.

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