California unemployment rate drops to 9.6%; state adds 41,200 jobs

Hundreds of workers seeking jobs attend the Orange County Job Fair at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Irvine.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

California’s labor market picked up last month, according to figures released Friday, as the state’s unemployment rate fell to 9.6% and employers added 41,200 jobs.

Gains were mostly notched in the leisure and hospitality and government sectors, according to the data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. January’s unemployment rate was 9.8%.

California is now tied with Nevada and Mississippi for the highest unemployment rate in the nation.

The survey of the Golden State’s employers showed that the leisure and hospitality sector added 15,700 jobs, followed by the government sector, which expanded by 11,200 jobs.

Professional and business services gained 9,400 jobs. Construction, continuing to benefit from demand in residential housing, added 5,700 jobs.


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

Three sectors showed losses. The combined trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 7,000 jobs. Education and health services shed 3,400 jobs. Manufacturing lost 3,300 jobs.

In addition, job figures for January were revised upward to show a net gain of 4,200.

The February figures also indicated that the state’s labor force grew by 48,000, suggesting that more people were optimistic about the economy and had jumped back into the job market.

California has seen steady job growth for much of the last year. Year-over-year payroll growth was 2%, stronger than the U.S. as a whole.


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