San Diego County’s unemployment rate reached 4.2 percent last month, up one-tenth of a percent from April and up from May 2006’s 3.7 percent rate. The local rate still falls beneath the state’s 4.9 percent rate and the nation’s 4.3 percent rate, the state Employment Development Department reported this morning.

Between April and May, the region added 2,000 seasonal leisure and hospitality jobs — with three-quarters of the gain in restaurants and bars — and about 1,200 retail jobs.

Professional and business services lost a net 800 jobs over the month.

Between May 2006 and May 2007, the county added 4,200 jobs. For the fifth consecutive month, leisure and hospitality led the gains in job growth, adding 6,400 jobs over the year. And government payrolls added 3,800 jobs over the year.

Those gains were offset by large drops in construction employment, as dictated by a slumping housing market. The sector lost 6,900 jobs over the year.

KELLY BENNETT

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