By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Salaries and wages for workers in the Los Angeles metropolitan area increased considerably this past year despite the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and the spike in unemployment, according to the latest federal numbers released Tuesday.

Wages and salaries in the L.A. area rose by an average of 4.5% between December of 2019 and December of 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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That’s significantly above the national average of 2.8%.

Meanwhile, compensation costs, which include both wages and benefits, increased by 3.7%, compared to the national average of 2.6%.

The L.A. metro area – comprised of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties – saw the highest increase in wages and salaries among the nation’s 15 largest metro areas.

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Phoenix came in second with a 4.2% increase, Seattle came in third at 4.1% and Washington, D.C. was fourth at 3.9%.

The L.A. metro area unemployment rate was 10.7% in December, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate has seen a steady decline since reaching a post-pandemic high of 20.4% in April.

In February, just before the pandemic took hold, the unemployment rate sat at 4.6%.

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Last week, state public health officials lifted the stay-at-home order for the Southern California region, allowing for restaurants to resume in-person outdoor dining and hair and nail salons to reopen.