California unemployment rate dips slightly in January |

California unemployment rate dips slightly in January

SACRAMENTO, Calif. and#8212; California’s unemployment rate dipped slightly to 12.4 percent in January but still remains far higher than the national average, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.

The state reported a 12.5 percent unemployment rate in December. California’s jobless rate has been at or above 12 percent for 17 months.

Also Friday, the U.S. Labor Department reported the national unemployment rate had fallen to 8.9 percent, the lowest level since April 2009.

California added 12,500 non-farm jobs in January, bringing the state’s total to nearly 14 million. Gains were seen in five of 11 sectors surveyed, including construction, manufacturing and government. Education and financial, health and business services reported job losses.

The survey of 42,000 California businesses shows a year-over-year increase of 102,100 jobs, up 0.7 percent.

Even with the slight drop in the unemployment rate, more than 2.2 million Californians remain out of work. The number of people without jobs is down 25,000 from the previous month, but up by 8,000 compared with January of last year.

The Employment Development Department says 603,946 people were collecting jobless benefits in January, compared to 717,070 in the same month a year ago. The number of new claims also is down.

There were 63,331 new claims filed in January, compared to 92,738 the same month last year.

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