County unemployment hits lowest level since 2008

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego County’s unemployment rate was 5.2 percent last month, the lowest level in nearly 6 1/2 years, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.

The rate hasn’t been lower since April 2008, when it was 4.9 percent, according to EDD data.

December’s mark was down from 5.8 percent the previous month, and well below the 6.5 percent rate in December 2013.

Statewide, the unemployment rate last month was 6.7 percent, and it was 5.4 percent nationwide. Neither figure is seasonally adjusted.

Most of the job growth in the San Diego region was seasonal in nature, with 2,300 positions added in retail trade — led by 500 new jobs in clothing stores, according to EDD data. Manufacturing, and professional and business services also added hundreds of jobs.

Restaurants and bars, meanwhile, cut 1,600 employees in December.

Over the past year, large job gains were seen in professional, scientific and technical services, which added roughly 11,200 positions; administrative, up 4,000; and restaurants and bars, 5,000 higher despite last month’s reductions.

The EDD said 82,900 San Diegans were unemployed last month out of a civilian workforce of 1.6 million. The number of unemployed is 11,300 less than the month before and almost 20,000 fewer than December 2013.

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