California adds 39,800 jobs in March; unemployment rate dips to 6.5%

California employers added 39,800 jobs in March; unemployment rate fell to 6.5%

California employers added 39,800 jobs in March, and the state's unemployment rate fell to 6.5% -- its lowest level in seven years.

The job gains last month marked nearly four years of consecutive monthly increases in California, which has seen employment increase at a rate of 3.1% over the last year -- faster than the national average of 2.3%.

The national unemployment rate is 5.5%. Last month, California's unemployment rate was 6.7%, and last March it was 7.9%.

State data released Friday showed that construction was the fastest-growing industry over the last year, adding jobs at a rate of 6.9% as the sector continues its recovery from the housing bust. Other industries posting rapid gains over the last year were professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality.

The only major industry to post a loss over the year was mining and logging, which encompasses the struggling oil industry.

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