Business & Real Estate

California unemployment rate falls to 6.9 percent

California unemployment fell to 6.9 percent in January as the state’s economy generated 67,300 new payroll jobs, state officials said Friday.

The Employment Development Department said the unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percent from December.

The latest numbers showed the continuing strengthening of the California economy.

“It is striking how much California job growth is leading the nation now,” said Jason Sisney, chief deputy analyst at the Legislative Analyst’s Office. “According to federal data, nonfarm payroll jobs for the entire U.S. grew by 239,000 in January. California job growth in January made up about 28 percent of the nation’s total.”

All told, the state has added 498,000 jobs in the past year, a 3.2 percent gain.

The latest monthly results also showed that December was considerably stronger than previously reported. Instead of merely 700 jobs being created that month, officials now say payrolls grew by 19,800 jobs.

The January numbers are usually released in February but were delayed because of an annual data revision known as benchmarking. The benchmarking process also means the January unemployment data for every metro area except for Los Angeles has been delayed until next Tuesday. In December, Sacramento unemployment was 6.2 percent.

Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.