By Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Posted: 03/07/14, 8:10 PM PST | Updated: 25 secs ago

The nation added 129,000 jobs in January but California lagged behind with a loss of 31,600 jobs, according to figures released Friday.

California’s unemployment rate dipped to 8.1 percent in January compared with 8.3 percent the previous month and 9.5 percent a year earlier, the state Employment Development reported.

Los Angeles County followed the same trend. Its jobless rate fell to 8.9 percent in January from 9.2 percent the previous month and 10.3 percent a year ago, despite the loss of 62,600 nonfarm jobs.

The Inland Empire lost on both counts.

Its unemployment rate ticked up to 9.5 percent in January from a revised 8.7 percent in December and the two-county region lost 25,200 jobs.

The region’s year-ago jobless rate was 11.4 percent.

Southern California’s job losses were certainly not welcome. But Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., said they should not be cause for alarm.

“These are seasonal changes that were very much expected,” he said.

Kleinhenz attributed most of the losses to seasonal workers who were hired by retailers for the holidays but no longer needed. And the latest revisions to previous California employment reports reveals a welcome trend, he said.

“The state’s job growth had been tracking with the national market, but these revisions tell us that the California market is not just tracking faster — but at a much higher trajectory,” he said.

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