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The county’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.4 percent in September, from 6.5 percent in August, the state Employment Development Department reported today.

County payrolls lost 5,100 jobs between September 2007 and September 2008, with the biggest losses in industries related to the housing market.

Between August and September, an annual end-of-summer drop for leisure and hospitality jobs contributed to a net loss over the month of 1,300 jobs. Retail was hard-hit, with 1,000 retail jobs lost as consumers tighten their spending amid what economists have called a regional recession for San Diego.

The unemployment rate was up from 4.8 percent in the same month a year ago. San Diego’s 6.4 percent rate in September was above the national rate of 6.0 percent and below the state’s 7.5 percent unemployment rate.

KELLY BENNETT

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