L.A. County’s economy continued to coast near full employment in March as the unemployment rate held steady at 4.5 percent for the third straight month and local employers added a relatively small 13,000 jobs, according to state figures released April 20.

The unemployment rate was below the 4.9 percent level of a year ago, the state Employment Development Department reported. But it was higher than the statewide average of 4.3 percent and the national average of 4.1 percent.

The rate stayed steady as there was virtually no change in the number of employment positions or the labor force, which was 5.14 million. The unemployment rate is derived from a survey of households throughout L.A. County.

L.A. County’s largest city, Los Angeles, reported the same 4.2 percent unemployment rate in March. The city with the highest rate was Lancaster at 6 percent. Rates in some small unincorporated communities were as high as 10 percent.

Meanwhile, the county reported a net addition of 13,100 jobs. Growth was led by local governments, which added 5,300 jobs to their payrolls. Health care/social assistance employers added 3,300 payroll jobs, followed by employers in the arts/entertainment/recreation sector with a net 3,000 jobs.

But these gains were offset by net drops in transportation/warehousing/utilities (down 3,100 jobs) and retail trade (down 2,500).