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State jobless rate unchanged at 10.9 percent
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SACRAMENTO  (AP) — California's unemployment rate remained unchanged in February at 10.9 percent as steady job growth continued, but the state still has a long way to go to fully recover from the recession.

Its jobless rate remains well above the national average of 8.3 percent.

The state Employment Development Department reported Friday that the seasonally adjusted jobless rate held the same from January, when it dipped below 11 percent for the first time in three years.

Officials said California had a net gain of 4,000 nonfarm jobs since the January survey, pointing to a gradual improvement in the state's economy. That builds off a slight gain of 1,500 jobs in January based on revised figures.

Four categories added a total of 24,400 jobs over the month: manufacturing; information; professional and business services; and educational and health services.

Six categories, including construction, financial activities and government, lost 20,400 jobs. Government posted the largest decrease over the month, with 10,300 fewer jobs. One category, leisure and hospitality, was unchanged.

The state has added 333,100 jobs since the government's officially recognized start of the economic recovery in September 2009.

The number of people without jobs in California remains above 2 million but was down by 6,000 over the month. It's down by 185,000 compared to February of last year.

According to a federal survey of households, the number of Californians holding jobs in February was 16.5 million, an increase of 12,000 from January.

Meanwhile, unemployment claims continued to decline. The state reported 55,287 new claims in February, down from 59,344 in January.