By Ricardo Lopez
7:58 AM PST, January 18, 2013
California’s labor market slowed last month as employers shed 17,500 jobs in December and the unemployment rate remained unchanged.
The state’s jobless rate, which fell below 10% in November for the first time in nearly four years, stands at 9.8%, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In addition, job figures for November were revised upward to show a net gain of 6,100 jobs that month.
The last survey of employers in 2012 showed job losses in several industries.
The steepest losses were notched in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which shed 11,200 jobs. Professional and business services, which include white-collar jobs such as accountants and lawyers, lost 8,800 jobs.
Two sectors expanded payrolls last month. The construction industry, seeing new demand in multi-unit residential housing, added 4,100 jobs. Education and health services added 9,200 jobs.
California continues to have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Only two states have higher jobless rates: Nevada and Rhode Island. Both recorded an unemployment rate of 10.2% last month.
For most of last year California had been steadily adding jobs at nearly twice the rate of the U.S. Last month, however, yearly growth slowed from almost 2% to 1.6%. Still, California has added 225,900 net jobs since December 2011.
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