By Kevin Smith Staff Writer
kevin.smith@sgvn.com @SGVNBiz on Twitter
Posted: 04/19/2013 06:24:28 PM PDT
Updated: 04/19/2013 06:39:18 PM PDT

Unemployment rates fell throughout Southern California in March but job creation slowed from the previous month, state officials reported Friday.

Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate edged down to 10.2 percent in March from 10.3 percent the previous month and 11.2 percent a year earlier, the state Employment Development Department reported.

The county added 23,700 jobs in March and 82,600 year-over year. Those numbers were welcome, but they came in below February’s monthly gain of 39,000 jobs and the 89,400 that were added year-over-year last month.

The Inland Empire’s unemployment rate took a deeper dive, falling to 10.5 percent in March compared with 10.9 in February and 12.4 percent a year ago.

The two-county region added 3,500 jobs over the month – more than the 2,900 that were added in February – and 23,500 over the past 12 months. That fell below February’s annual gain of 27,500 jobs.

Christopher Thornberg, a founding partner with Beacon Economics in Los Angeles, said the latest numbers will likely be revised upward in the coming months.

“The direct unemployment numbers suggest that not only do we have good numbers, but that they are under-counting on the order of 80,000 jobs,” he said. “That would probably be spread out over the last eight or nine months. ”

Thornberg said California is looking proportionally better than the U.S. as a whole, which added just 88,000 jobs in March.

Stephen Levy, director and senior economist of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto, agreed, saying California’s job growth continued to outpace the nation’s last month.

Over the past 12 months the state’s job level has increased 2 percent versus 1.4 percent for the nation, he said, and job creation has finally picked up in Los Angeles County, which also had a 2 percent growth rate over the past 12 months.

“It’s a very good report for California and a very good report for Los Angeles,” Levy said. “It’s been a long time since L.A. County alone outpaced the nation by that much.”

Mara Klug, a regional vice president with Adecco USA Inc., said hiring has been picking up for her agency.

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