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California Unemployment Rate Drops To 11.1 Percent

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(CBS)

(CBS)

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SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) -  Buoyed by seasonal hiring, California’s unemployment rate dipped slightly in December to 11.1 percent, down two-tenths of a percent from the previous month.

Nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 10,700 last month, for a total gain of 240,300 jobs in 2011.

Officials at the Employment Development Department said Friday’s report shows California is continuing a gradual economic improvement.

The biggest growth came in areas of construction, information, professional and business services, educational and health services and government.

Meanwhile, areas including mining, manufacturing, transportation, financial activities and hospitality all reported job losses.

Bay Area counties, which have maintained unemployment rates below the state average, saw continued declines in December.

San Francisco’s jobless rate fell to 7.6 percent in December, down from 7.8 percent in November and 9.5 percent last January, according to state officials.

Marin County, which has the lowest unemployment rate in the state, fell to 6.5 percent in December from 6.9 percent in November. San Mateo County, with the second-lowest rate in both the region and the state, fell to 7.2 percent from 7.5 percent.

Even the Bay Area counties with higher unemployment rates saw declines from November to December. Solano County, which has the highest rate in the region, saw it fall from 10.6 percent in November to 10.5 percent last month.

California remains above the national jobless rate of 8.5 percent.

California’s unemployment rate was near 12 percent for months and has been above 11 percent since 2009.

The state’s rate fell to 11.3 percent in November, the lowest since May 2009.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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