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California's unemployment rate drops to 8% in February; 58,800 jobs added

Unemployment and LayoffsJobs and Workplace

California's economy added 58,800 net new jobs in February, gaining back some momentum after a lackluster showing the month before, the state's Employment Development Department reported Friday.

The job gains helped push the unemployment rate down to 8% from 8.1% a month earlier, according to state employment data.

The pickup in the job market was spread across nine industries, including financial activities, government, and leisure and hospitality. Educational and health services reported the biggest increase with 15,800 new positions.

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Job losses were posted by two industries -- manufacturing and the sector known as other services, which refers to jobs such as hair stylist and car mechanic. Manufacturing posted the bigger decline, shedding 2,600 jobs.

The Golden State has now added about 1.23 million jobs since the recovery began in February 2010. In the last 12 months, California payrolls climbed 2.2%, with 336,600 positions gained in total, according to state data.

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The EDD also reported that January's job losses were revised upward to 32,000. It was a month of conflicting data with a reduction in positions but a slight drop in the unemployment rate.

California's performance in February was in line with the U.S. overall, which added 175,000 net new jobs last month despite wintry storms and other bad weather. Despite the increase, the U.S. jobless rate ticked up slightly to 6.7%.

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