SACRAMENTO (AP) — California’s jobless rate dipped below 10 percent last month for the first time since the recession began, the state announced Friday, signaling that the state’s economy may have finally turned the corner.
The 9.8 percent unemployment rate reported by the Employment Development Department is down from 10.1 percent in October.
It marks the first time in nearly four years that the rate dropped into single digits. The last time was in January 2009, when the rate was 9.7 percent.
Leading economists had predicted that the unemployment rate would remain in double digits through 2013.
California has added more than 564,000 nonfarm payroll jobs since the recovery began in 2010, the department said.
About 14.4 million Californians were working, though there was a decrease of 3,800 jobs since October.
The state has added more than 268,000 jobs since November 2011.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector posted the largest increase in jobs since October, with nearly 13,000. Construction, information; financial activities; and the leisure and hospitality all also added jobs.
However, educational and health services jobs dropped by 11,000 from the previous month. Manufacturing; professional and business services and government all also lost jobs.
In the last year, the recovery was led by business and professional services, which added 74,000 jobs, and the information sector, which had the biggest percentage gain, up nearly 6 percent. Construction; trade, transportation and utilities; financial activities; educational and health services; and leisure and hospitality all added jobs.
Mining and logging; manufacturing; other services; and government lost a collective 51,000 jobs over the last year. Government was the biggest loser, down 34,500 jobs.
Nearly 400,000 Californians face the loss of unemployment benefits next month if no deal is reached to address the so-called fiscal cliff. Unless Congress and the president take action before year’s end, no more benefits can be paid.
About $40 billion in extension benefits have been paid to the long-term unemployed in California over the last 4 1/2 years, the department said. The state sent letters last month notifying the unemployed Californians about the scheduled end of the federal extension program.
Business and government officials have warned that fallout from the fiscal cliff could halt California’s recovery. Unless the federal government acts, Bush-era tax cuts and the end of a payroll tax holiday are set to expire, meaning smaller paychecks for workers just as the nation is struggling to recover from the Great Recession.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press)