State Reports Modest Job Growth

California employers added 4,900 jobs in September, the state reported today, a modest showing that suggested the state is still having trouble revving its economic recovery into higher gear.

The increase, following a revised gain of 4,300 jobs in August, made September the third straight month of relatively weak job creation.

The unemployment rate was 5.9%, unchanged from the revised figure for August, but down from 6.7% a year ago, the state Employment Development Department reported. The national jobless rate stood at 5.4% last month.

The modest increase again raised questions about the strength of the state's recovery and whether the continued cautious hiring from employers is part of a long-term structural change in the economy that results in slower job creation.

California, with about 11% of the nation's jobs, should have posted a higher share of the nation's net gain of 96,000 jobs in September, analysts said.

While an issue in the presidential campaign, the jobs numbers are not likely to make a difference in California because Democratic candidate Sen. John F. Kerry is expected to easily carry the state.

But the weak job figures could begin to raise questions about the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who came into office pledging to improve the state's business climate and boost job generation.