San Diego County’s unemployment rate dipped to 9.6 percent in May, from a revised 9.8 percent unemployment in April, according to a June 17 report from the state’s Employment Development Department.

The job inventory was buoyed by a net gain of 7,600 nonfarm jobs, the state office said.

The biggest monthly gain came in the financial activities sector with 2,600 jobs added. Within that sector, the biggest contributor was from real estate and rental and leasing, which generated 1,500 jobs, followed by finance and insurance for 1,100 jobs.

Six other sectors showed increases during the month, led by leisure and hospitality with 2,200 jobs, and a sector that includes the retail industry, which increased by 1,200 jobs.

Two sectors showed net losses: professional and business services, down by 600 jobs; and other services, down 300.

Over the 12 months from May 2010, the area’s total nonfarm employment increased by 11,200 jobs or 0.9 percent. The sector showing the largest annual gain was professional and business services, which includes temporary employment jobs, up by 6,300 jobs.

Five sectors showed net losses, with the largest coming from government, down 4,300 jobs; and construction, down 1,700.

San Diego’s below 10 percent jobless rate compared favorably with California’s adjusted unemployment rate of 11.7 percent, but was greater than the national rate of 8.7 percent for May.

— Mike Allen