Business & Real Estate

State’s unemployment down to 6.1 percent

California’s unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent in August as the state led the nation in job growth, state and federal officials reported Friday.

The July unemployment rate was 6.2 percent.

Economists said the numbers show California’s economy remains generally strong. “Both income growth and tax receipts are ahead of expectations, allowing government employment to rise by 31,000,” said Sung Won Sohn, an economist with California State University, Channel Islands, in a note to reporters.

But Sohn warned that slowdowns in key export markets, notably China and Mexico, could soften the state’s economy. He also said the drought will be a drag on the economy.

Meanwhile, Sacramento’s unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent last month, down from 6 percent in July, the state Employment Development Department said. Area employers added 3,500 jobs, with significant increases in education, retailing and the leisure and hospitality sector.

Overall, the Sacramento region has added 24,600 jobs in the past year, a growth rate of 2.7 percent.

Statewide, employers added 36,200 jobs last month, tops in the nation, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said. The next highest was Florida, at 19,600.

Over the past year, California has added 470,000 jobs, the BLS said, far and away the best in the nation. Florida was No. 2 at 261,500.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler