By Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Posted: 07/18/14, 6:13 PM PDT | Updated: 49 secs ago

California’s economic recovery hit a milestone last month as the state finally regained all of the jobs it lost in the Great Recession.

Figures released Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics put California’s June employment at 15,472,800. That eclipsed the state’s pre-recession peak of 15,449,800 in July 2007.

California added 24,200 jobs in June, 356,400 jobs over the past year and more than 1.3 million jobs since the recovery began in February 2010, according to the state Employment Development Department.

California’s unemployment rate continued to trend downward last month, dipping to 7.4 percent, its lowest level in nearly six years. That was down from 7.6 percent the previous month and well below the year-ago rate of 9 percent.

June’s jobless rate is headed in the right direction. But when those who are under-employed or have given up looking for work are factored in, that rate is closer to 15 percent.

Christopher Thornberg, a founding partner with Beacon Economics in Los Angeles, was reluctant to place too much weight on the jobs recovery.

“It’s really kind of an arbitrary metric at some level, isn’t it?” Thornburg asked. “What I focus on more are the trends, and the trends are quite positive. We have one of the fastest growing economies in the nation, it’s putting people back to work and people are spending money. Construction continues to heal, technology and professional services are growing with high-income jobs and hospitality is doing well. I don’t see anything to suggest we’ll see a slowdown.”

Locally, June’s employment report offered a mix bag.

Los Angeles County added 4,800 jobs in June and its jobless rate edged down to 8.1 percent from 8.2 percent in May and 10 percent a year ago. The Inland Empire also added jobs last month — 3,800 of them — but the region’s unemployment rate jumped to 8.4 percent from 8 percent the previous month. A year ago it stood at 10.7 percent.

“My explanation for that is that June happened,” said John Husing, chief economist for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership. “The June numbers are never seasonally adjusted and June is also when the schools start closing down for the summer.”

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