LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The slow but steady improvement in the Los Angeles County job market continued in May as the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 11.4 percent in May, down from 11.6 percent in April.

Loree Levy of the state Employment Development Department told KNX 1070’s Chris Sedens the 11.4 percent unemployment rate was below the 12.3 percent rate from one year ago.

“There was also some job gains, 11,800 of them, led by leisure and hospitality,” said Levy. “What we’re seeing throughout the state is kind of an increase in business travel as well as tourism.”

In Orange County, where seasonally adjusted numbers were not available, the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in May, up slightly from 7.4 percent in April.

California’s jobless rate was 10.8 percent in May, down from 10.9 percent in April and down from May 2011, when the rate was 11.9 percent, according to Levy.

The comparable estimates for the nation were 8.2 percent in May, 8.1 percent in April and 9 percent a year ago.

Total nonfarm employment increased by 11,800 jobs in Los Angeles County between April and May to reach 3.8 million. The leisure and hospitality sector recorded the largest month-over-month climb, adding 9,100 jobs.

Levy applauded the gains, but acknowledged the state still faces an uncertain employment outlook.

“It’s nice to be able to talk about a very positive report, if we can just keep that momentum strong going into the months ahead,” said Levy.

A total of 560,000 people were unemployed in May in Los Angeles County, which has a labor force of about 4.9 million.

Statewide, about 2 million people were out of work, down slightly from the previous month.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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