State Adds 43,500 Nonfarm Jobs

California's employers added a net 43,500 nonfarm jobs in October, the strongest gain in four years, the state Employment Development Department reported today.

October's jump, following a revised increase of only 8,300 jobs in September, showed the Golden State joining and maybe outdoing the rest of the nation in enjoying an improved job market.

The state's jobless rate fell to 5.7% from 6% the previous month, the third time in the last year that it has declined at least three-tenths of a point. It was the lowest unemployment rate since September 2001.

Over the last year, employment in California has increased by nearly 400,000. October was the best single month since November of 2000, at the tail end of the dot-com boom, when 56,000 jobs were created.

The country, by comparison, added 337,000 net jobs last month, the biggest increase since the spring. But the national unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a point to 5.5% as more people began looking for work.

The job category showing the biggest gain last month in California was professional and business services, up 16,300. Showing the biggest decline was government jobs, falling 10,300.

Imperial County in the southeastern corner of the state had an unemployment rate of 24.5% in October, the highest in the state. The lowest was 2.9% in Marin County, north of San Francisco. Los Angeles County had a rate of 6%.