California adds 44,200 jobs in August, unemployment steady at 7.4%

California’s job market continued to expand in August as employers added 44,200 jobs – the largest boost of any state in the country.

But the state’s unemployment rate didn’t budge from 7.4%, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last month, the national jobless rate slid to 6.1% from 6.2% in July.

Job recovery in California, where this time last year 8.9% of workers were unemployed, is outpacing the rest of the U.S. The state added more jobs last month than Florida, where 22,700 workers were added to payrolls, and Texas, which added 20,100 workers.

Granted, California is the most populous state. By percentage increase, the largest leaps in employment in August were made by New Mexico, with a 0.6% upswing, and Nebraska, which enjoyed a 0.5% lift.


The western part of the country still has the highest overall unemployment rate, at 6.6%. The Midwest, with a 5.8% rate, has the lowest.

Over the year, California employers have added 313,900 jobs, and with the holiday season fast approaching, many will be looking to swell their headcounts.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Thursday that it plans to hire 5,000 seasonal workers in Southern California heading into Christmas. The chain said it hopes to add 60,000 holiday employees into its ranks nationwide – nearly 10% more than it did last year.

Earlier this week, Citadel Outlets in Commerce hosted a job fair attended by a variety of retail employers.

Rebeca Valdovinoz, 28, put on her patent black heels and a nice necklace and rode the bus from her East Los Angeles home to fill out applications. The single mother has relied on welfare for three years to support herself and her special-needs son, 8.

She’s licensed as a pharmacy technician, but has struggled to find a position in the field because employers now want additional certifications that she doesn’t have.

“I’m open to everything – clerical, retail, whatever I can find at this point,” she said, standing near employers’ booths in the intense heat. “Sometimes, you reach a point when enough is enough, and you just want to find something.”

Twitter: @tiffhsulatimes