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California unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.8% last month

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.

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In addition, job figures for November were revised upward to show a net gain of 6,100 jobs that month.

Quiz: How much do you know about California’s economy?

The last survey of employers in 2012 showed job losses in several industries.

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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.

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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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ricardo.lopez2@latimes.com

Follow Ricardo Lopez on Twitter.

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