California unemployment rate drops to 9 percent

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California's unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in 4 1/2 years as the state experienced one of the sharpest drops in joblessness nationwide, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.

Unemployment fell to 9 percent in April, the lowest point since November 2008, nearly a year after the recession began. The decrease of 0.4 percentage points from the previous month follows two smaller dips and several months when the rate hovered at 9.8 percent.

New York and South Carolina also saw their jobless rates fall by 0.4 percentage points.

California has added more than 273,000 jobs since April 2012, including a net gain of 10,400 nonfarm jobs in April. Monthly job gains were down from March when the state added 25,500 jobs.

The construction industry has posted some of the largest gains, adding 7,400 jobs last month and 44,800 positions during the past year.

Manufacturing, trade, hospitality, financial activities, and educational and health services also gained jobs.

Among the sectors reporting losses were professional and business services, information and government. Professional services generally have added jobs over the past year, adding 71,500 positions.

Nearly 1.7 million Californians remain unemployed, down 300,000 from April 2012.

Imperial County, along the state's southern border, had the state's highest unemployment rate in April at 24 percent. Marin County in the San Francisco Bay Area was lowest at 4.6 percent.

The state's figure remains above the national unemployment rate of 7.5 percent. California had the fourth-highest jobless in April, behind Nevada, Illinois and Mississippi.

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