Gov. Jerry Brown’s aides were crowing earlier this week about California leading the nation in job creation. Friday brought news that the state’s economy continues to generate jobs in solid numbers, driving unemployment to its lowest level in nearly seven years.
California unemployment fell to 6.7 percent in February, a drop of three-tenths of a point, the Employment Development Department reported Friday.
It was the lowest statewide unemployment rate since it was 6.6 percent in April 2008.
Sacramento’s economy continued to show strength, too. The region’s unemployment rate fell four-tenths of a point in February, to 6.3 percent. The last time unemployment was 6.3 percent in greater Sacramento was in May 2008.
Area payrolls grew by 4,700 jobs in February and have increased by 25,900 in the past year. That’s a 2.9 percent growth rate, or slightly behind the statewide job growth rate.
“We’re just on a good trajectory,” said EDD labor market consultant George Marley.
Government was a big job creator in February, particularly local schools, which added 900 jobs. “Midyear hiring,” Marley said, “the second semester or second half of the school year.”
The health care sector, which has been booming in recent years, added an additional 1,100 jobs during February.
On the statewide level, employers added 29,400 payroll jobs during the month. Eight of the 11 major job categories saw increases, led by 12,600 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector.
Payrolls statewide have grown by 476,400 jobs in the past year, a gain of 3.1 percent. The state’s economy “is back to its growth levels of 2006-07, before the Great Recession,” San Francisco labor attorney Michael Bernick, a former EDD director, said in an email.
The latest figures came three days after newly revised U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that California led the nation in job creation during 2014, beating the state’s archrival, Texas.
Texas will release its February job data next Friday.
Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.