California’s unemployment rate dipped to 7.4% in June, a month in which the state finally recovered all the jobs lost during the recession.
Data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday showed that California added more than 24,000 jobs in June, capping a year of steady employment growth for the state. Over the past year, California’s unemployment rate has fallen from 9%, and the state has added more than 356,000 jobs.
More than 15,472,000 people were on nonfarm payrolls in June, surpassing the pre-recession employment peak of 15,449,000 in July 2007.
The highest growth areas since May were in education and health services and trade, transportation and utilities, which added 12,000 and 11,000 jobs, respectively.
Over the past year, the biggest drivers in California’s job growth have been the education and health services and professional and business services sectors.
California is still tied for the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the nation, coming in lower than only Rhode Island, Mississippi, Nevada and Michigan.
Although California has now recovered all the jobs lost during the recession, economists caution that it is more of a symbolic milestone. As the state’s population grows, more people are entering the workforce.
In July 2007, for instance, the state’s unemployment was far lower -- at 5.4%.
“It may have some psychological effect, but it’s an economically meaningless benchmark,” said Heidi Shierholz, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.