SACRAMENTO (AP) — California’s jobless rate fell to 6.5 percent in March, the lowest it’s been in nearly seven years, the California Employment Development Department reported Friday.
California added 39,800 jobs during March for a gain of nearly 1.9 million jobs since the recovery began in 2010, according to the agency. The last time the unemployment rate was this low was in May 2008.
The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.5 percent.
California saw two-tenths of a percentage point drop in its unemployment rate from February as a result of payroll gains. It was the third consecutive drop since the start of the year.
A survey of California businesses found the state had 15.9 million nonfarm jobs in March. It marks a 3.1 percent increase, or gain of roughly 482,000 jobs, since March of last year.
According to the agency, seven categories added jobs over the month including the fields of construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; professional and business services; educational and health services; other services; and government.
Professional and business services posted the largest increase of 16,900 jobs.
The overall number of people unemployed was down in March and stands at 1.2 million. However, that doesn’t include the number of Californians who have stopped looking for work, or people working part-time who would rather be working full-time.
The Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan think tank, issued an analysis in December saying that when those groups are factored in, the state’s unemployment rate is likely 15.4 percent.
The state reported that there were 464,530 people receiving unemployment benefits during March, an uptick from 426,874 in February but lower than 510,919 during March of last year.