Business & Real Estate

California unemployment falls to 5.8 percent, lowest in eight years


California’s unemployment rate fell to 5.8 percent last month, the lowest rate in eight years, as employers added 41,200 jobs to their payrolls, state officials said Friday.

The latest report from the state Employment Development Department suggests the California economy is continuing to improve at a steady clip despite recent indications that the national economy is slowing down. The 41,200 new jobs was tops in the nation, according to federal statistics.

Statewide unemployment fell a tenth of a percentage point from the month earlier. It’s the lowest rate since October 2007, before the housing bubble burst and the nation was plunged into recession.

In another encouraging sign, the EDD said it now estimates that the state added 21,100 jobs in September, about three times as many as previously believed. The state has added 463,000 jobs in the past year.

“The September slowdown was a false alarm,” said economist Sung Won Sohn, of California State University, Channel Islands, in a note to reporters. But he added that economic weakness around the globe will eventually reach California and the rest of the nation. Exports from California dropped 10 percent in August, the most recent data available.

Sacramento area unemployment rose four-tenths of a point, to 5.5 percent, although payrolls in the region grew by 3,400. The public sector added 4,700 jobs, mostly related to local education. However, the leisure and hospitality sector declined by 1,700 jobs. Cara Welch, an EDD labor market consultant, said the October results were marked mainly by seasonal trends.

Unemployment in greater Sacramento has fallen 1.1 percentage points from a year earlier. The Sacramento region has added 21,000 jobs in the past year, a growth rate of 2.3 percent. Still, that lags the statewide growth rate of 2.9 percent.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler