Ashley Sanchez preps the work area at Simply Salad fast-casual restaurant near the Traffic Circle Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

While statewide unemployment ticked up slightly in October, it remained unchanged in Long Beach and Los Angeles County, according to data released Friday by the California Economic Development Department.

The city’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.6%, below pre-pandemic levels, in September, after it jumped in the previous three months. In October, it remained the same despite the number of unemployed residents dropping by 100 to 10,500.

Long Beach’s labor force dropped by 2,000 to 226,900, and the number of employed residents also decreased, falling by 1,800 to 216,500.

“I am happy to see inflation cool the most significantly it has in the past 12 months and see the strength in key economic drivers of aerospace, tourism, healthcare, logistics and professional services as they grow and add jobs,” Nick Schultz, executive director of the city’s Pacific Gateway Investment Network, said in an email to the Business Journal.

Despite falling below the February 2020 unemployment rate of 4.8%, the current rate is still a ways off from the historic low of 4% in April 2019, Schultz noted.

The city’s standing in the county in terms of unemployment faltered slightly, according to state data. The city’s rate is higher than 69.4% of other cities and areas, compared to 68% in September. Five cities—Baldwin Park, Bell, El Segundo, Los Angeles and Pomona—have the same unemployment rate as Long Beach.

LA County’s figures followed the same trend as Long Beach, with the total number of unemployed residents, the labor force and the number of employed residents all falling, state data shows. The county unemployment rate remained just below Long Beach’s at 4.5%.

The number of unemployed residents countywide decreased  2,300 to 218,600. The labor force, meanwhile, was reduced by 42,500 to 4,899,800 and the number of employed residents fell by 40,300 to 4,681,200.

Statewide, the unemployment rate ticked up from 3.7% in September to 3.8% last month, according to state data. Despite the slight bump, economists said the month was positive for California.

“October marks a significant milestone for California with employment in the state reaching full recovery from the pandemic driven losses,” Taner Osman, research manager at Beacon Economics and the UC Riverside Center for Economic Forecasting, said in a statement. “This feat is particularly impressive since the state’s labor force has about one-quarter of a million fewer workers than it did prior to the crisis. The lowest unemployment rate on record has helped to offset the contraction in the state’s labor force.”

As expected, the largest job gains statewide continue to be seen in sectors hit hardest by the pandemic, according to the Beacon-UCR analysis. Some sectors have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, but those hit hardest continue to lag.

Health care led payroll gains last month, expanding by 19,500 jobs. Leisure and hospitality, meanwhile, added 13,500 jobs, but the sector remains 6.2% below February 2020 levels.

The largest number of job losses in California in October was government, which decreased by 8,700. Retail trade, education and construction also saw losses.

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Business Journal.