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.