Applicants at a job fair in Concord, Calif. (David Paul Morris / Bloomberg )
California posted stronger-than-expected job gains in October with employers adding 45,800 workers to payrolls ahead of the holiday shopping season that kicks off next week.
The jobless rate ticked down to 10.1% in October, down from 10.2% the month before, according to data Friday from the state's Employment Development Department.
The state also revised September job gains upward to 32,000 from the previously reported figure of 8,500.
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"This was a very strong month," said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto. "The state has regained the job growth's momentum."
Nonfarm employment grew 2.1% over the year, outpacing the U.S. growth rate of about 1.5%.
"The economy is moving in the right direction," said Esmael Adibi, director of Chapman University's A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research. "California's economy is doing much better than the U.S. right now."
The sector with the largest over-the-month increase was trade, transportation and utilities, which as a group added 24,700 jobs.
Education and health services posted the next largest gain, 11,400 jobs. Professional and business services, which includes white-collar jobs such as accountants and lawyers, added 9,000 jobs.
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California employers, however, shed jobs in four industries, with the steepest losses in government, which shrank by 8,600 jobs.
But job losses in the public sector could ease in the coming months with last week's passage of Proposition 30 and dozens of local ballot measures that will boost revenue, economists said.
Proposition 30, which voters approved last week, is expected to provide the state, school districts, colleges and universities with about $6 billion annually for at least five years by hiking the statewide base sales tax by a quarter-cent and by raising the state income tax for people with taxable incomes of over $250,000 a year.
Over the year, California has added 295,300 nonfarm jobs. The unemployment rate has fallen 1.4 percentage points since October 2011.
The report also showed that the state's labor force grew by about 27,000. The state's net job gains were enough to offset the growing number of people looking for work, said Dennis Myers, principal economist for the state's Department of Finance.
In Los Angeles, employers added 41,200 jobs, primarily in local government. The county's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August fell to 10.5%, from a revised 10.6% the month before.
Next door, Orange County lost 13,500 jobs, primarily in education, and its seasonally unadjusted jobless rate ticked up to 7.2%. The Inland Empire, which includes Riverside and San Bernardino counties, gained 8,800 jobs; its unemployment rate rose to 11.7%, from 11.6% the month before.
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