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California unemployment drops to 9.4%, lowest in more than 4 years

April 19, 2013|By Shan Li
  • Candidates meet with recruiters at a job fair last month in Orange County.
Candidates meet with recruiters at a job fair last month in Orange County. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

California's labor market picked up steam last month, according to figures released Friday, as the state's unemployment rate fell to 9.4% and employers added a net 25,500 jobs in March.

The March rate was the lowest in California since Dec. 2008, when 9.2% of the state's labor force was out of work.

Gains were mostly notched in the professional and business services sector and leisure and hospitality sector, according to data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. February's unemployment rate was 9.6%.

California is now tied with Mississippi with the third-highest jobless rates in the country.

The survey of the Golden's State's employers showed that the professional and business services sector added 15,800 jobs, followed by leisure and hospitality, which expanded by 7,600 jobs.

Quiz: How much do you know about California's economy?

Construction, continuing to benefit from rising demand in residential housing, gained 3,800 positions. Both government and education and health services added 800 jobs.

Two sectors showed losses. The combined trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 8,400 jobs. Manufacturing shed 3,300 positions.

Job figures for February were revised downward to show a net gain of 37,400, down from the previously estimated gain of 41,200 jobs.

California has seen steady job growth for much of the last year. Year-over-year payroll growth was 2%, stronger than the U.S. as a whole.

However, March figures indicated that the state's labor force fell by 14,900, suggesting that some people may have gotten discouraged and left the job market. That would mirror the U.S. as a whole last month when hundreds of thousands of people left the labor force.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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