County jobless rate rises slightly

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego County’s unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in January, up from 4.1 percent the previous month but below the year-ago figure of 4.8 percent, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.

San Diego’s figure compares to the statewide unemployment rate of 5.5 percent, and the nation’s 5.1 percent. Neither the California nor U.S. figures are seasonally adjusted.

According to the EDD, 19,000 jobs were lost in San Diego County between December and January, with the biggest hit in the retail trade as 6,500 workers were let go following the holidays. Government shed 3,200 positions, while accommodation and food services lost 2,700.

While the month-to-month story was of job losses, the larger picture across the entire year showed gains, with an annual employment pickup of 32,300 positions.

The biggest gainers were in local government education, 3,500 jobs; ambulatory healthcare services, 2,900; restaurants, 2,500; retail, 2,200; and a sector called “Amusement, Gambling, & Recreation,” 2,000.

In January, 70,600 San Diegans were unemployed out of a civilian labor force of more than 1.5 million, according to the EDD. The unemployment total was 4,800 less than the same month last year.