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Jobless rate up despite 2,300 more restaurant jobs

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SAN DIEGO — The unemployment rate in San Diego County last month was 4.7 percent, up from 4.3 percent the month before but below the 5.4 percent recorded in the same period last year, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.

San Diego’s rate compared to 5.4 percent for California as a whole and 4.6 percent across the U.S. Neither the state nor national figures are seasonally adjusted.

The biggest job gain from June to July was 2,300 positions in restaurants.

The pickup, however, was more than offset from a seasonal loss of 9,100 positions in local government education. State government education lost 3,400 jobs.

Over the past year, the biggest increases were in local government education, 6,100 jobs; health care and social assistance, 4,400; and personal services, 2,200.

The largest annual decline was in transportation, 800 jobs.

In July, 74,000 San Diegans were unemployed out of a civilian labor force of nearly 1.6 million people. The unemployed total was up 6,500 from the prior month, but still 6,700 below the level of one year ago.

“The unemployment rate is up because people are entering the labor market at the fastest rate we’ve seen all year,” said Phil Blair, president and CEO of the staffing firm Manpower San Diego. “The private sector is strong, especially real estate and construction, which keep adding jobs.”

San Diego’s 4.7 percent was the 13th lowest of the 58 counties in the state. The worst, by far, was neighboring Imperial County, where the rate was a staggering 24.2 percent — 17,900 unemployed out of a civilian labor force of 73,700, according to the EDD.

Within San Diego County, the highest rate in July was recorded in Bostonia — an unincorporated section of El Cajon — at 8.4 percent. The agency said the lowest rate in the region was 0.5 percent in Del Mar.

The city of San Diego’s unemployment rate was 4.5 percent — or 31,600 unemployed out of a civilian labor force of 707,200, according to the EDD.