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California adds 4,200 jobs, while unemployment drops to 5.4%, the lowest in 9 years

California adds 4,200 jobs, while unemployment drops to 5.4%, the lowest in 9 years

California added 4,200 jobs in March, the Employment Development Department reported Friday.

The uptick pushed unemployment in the state to 5.4%, down from 5.5% a month earlier. March marked the state's lowest unemployment rate since July 2007.

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California still has a higher rate of unemployment than the nation, at 5%, a sign that labor markets are still struggling in some parts of the state. Job growth was hampered by employment cuts in several industries, including high-paying fields such as professional and business services.

The March job gains were tiny compared with the month before, which saw growth of 46,600 positions. Overall, though, the state is outpacing the country in job growth.

California employment has increased 2.6% over the last 12 months, faster than the 2% rate for the U.S. economy. State employers have added 2.1 million jobs since the recovery began in February 2010.

Trade, transportation and utilities added 11,100 workers in March, the largest increase for a sector. Seven other sectors, including mining, manufacturing, information, hospitality, professional services, other services and construction, slashed a total of 18,400 jobs.

Construction, which generally had produced the strongest job gains for the state, cut 7,400 jobs in March, the biggest decline of any industry.

Twitter: @NatalieKitro

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