One of the states hit hardest by the economic recession and housing market collapse got yet another dose of bad news.

The unemployment rate in California trickled up to 12.5 percent in December, from 12.4 percent the prior month – meaning the jobless rate stayed above the 12 percent mark for the entire year, according to the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD).

California suffers from one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation – the national jobless rate for December edged down to 9.4 percent.

EDD indicated that the 2.27 Californians are now without work (an increase of 3,000 from November), while the number of state residents holding jobs dropped by 25,000 from November.

The pace of job creation is still really disappointing, said Esmael Adibi, an economist at Chapman University in Orange, Cal.

It suggests that we're going to have a stubbornly high unemployment rate, even in 2011.

The leisure and hospitality sector added 9,300 jobs, the largest such increase for the month. Government and construction jobs posted the biggest declines.

What on earth is going to happen to state and local governments is a big question mark, said Nancy Sidhu, chief economist at the Kyser Center for Economic Research at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. But I can't think of any good results.

Given the likelihood of massive spending cuts in the next budget, more public sector job losses are likely.

Los Angeles County saw its unemployment rate climb to 13 percent in December, from 12.8 percent in the prior month.

Marin County had the lowest unemployment rate of all California counties, with a 7.9 percent rate.
Several counties have extraordinarily high jobless rates, including Imperial County (28.3 percent), Colusa County (25.2 percent), Merced County (20.1 percent) and Plumas County (21 percent).