Long Beach unemployment remained essentially flat in July, inching down from 5.3% to 5.2%, according to state data released Friday.

The news, though, may be welcome after data released last month showed an uptick in June after 10 straight months of decline. In May, the city’s unemployment reached a low of 4.6%—lower than it was just before the pandemic began.

Long Beach’s unemployment rate remains higher than 67% of Los Angeles County’s 124 cities and unincorporated areas, according to data from the California Employment Development Department. Only 37 areas have higher unemployment.

Three cities—Los Angeles, Norwalk and Pomona—have the same unemployment rate as Long Beach.

Countywide, the unemployment rate dipped to 5% in July. After reaching a low of 4.5% in May, the county’s unemployment rate jumped to 5.2% in June.

After a small uptick in June, the state’s unemployment rate inched down from 4% to 3.9%, while the national rate sits at 3.5%.

“California is getting very close to fully recovering all the jobs it lost due to the pandemic,” Taner Osman, research manager at Beacon Economics and the Center for Economic Forecasting, said in a statement.

The county labor force increased by 14,100 people in July to 4,974,600, according to state data. The labor force was 5,218,500 in February 2020. The number of unemployed people in LA County decreased by 6,100 to 250,600.

In Long Beach, meanwhile, the labor force increased by 800 people in July, reaching 230,400, state data shows. Prior to the pandemic, the labor force was 243,400. The number of unemployed people in the city last month was 12,000, a decrease of 100 people.

Statewide, the largest job gains continue to be seen in the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic, though they remain below pre-pandemic levels, according to a Beacon analysis. Health care led the state, adding 16,900 positions, followed by leisure and hospitality with 14,900 and construction with 11,400.

At the county level, due to the usual summer recess, the government section—mostly educational services—saw the largest decline at 44,400 jobs, the EDD reports. Professional and business services saw the largest month-over-month gains, increasing payroll by 6,900 jobs.

From July 2021 to last month, nonfarm employment in LA County increased by 174,000 jobs, a 4% boost, according to the EDD. The leisure and hospitality sector posted the largest gains at 37,600 jobs, accounting for 22% of the total year-over-year payroll increase.

Long Beach unemployment ticks up after 10 months of decline

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