SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — California’s unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent in May, marking the first time in nearly five years the jobless rate has dipped below 9 percent.
The state Employment Development Department reported Friday a decrease of 0.4 percentage points from 9 percent in the previous month. The drop in May puts California’s unemployment rate at the lowest level since November 2008.
California’s rate continues to remain above the national average of 7.6 percent.
State officials reported a non-farm jobs gain of 10,800 during May for a total gain of more than 767,000 since the economy began to rebound in February 2010.
Roughly 1.6 million Californians remain unemployed, down 364,000 from May of last year.
The unemployment rate also dipped in many Bay Area counties, with a drop from 5.4 to 5.2 percent in San Francisco from April to May. The jobless rate in the city hovered around 6.5 percent at the beginning of the year.
Marin County held its spot as the California county with the lowest jobless rate in the state, decreasing from 4.6 to 4.5 percent unemployment.
Unemployment rates fell in half of U.S. states last month, led by big drops in California, West Virginia, New York and Hawaii.
The Labor Department says unemployment rates rose in 17 states and were unchanged in eight.
Employers added jobs in 33 states last month. The biggest gains were in Ohio, Texas and Michigan.
North Dakota had the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.2 percent.
Nevada had the highest at 9.5 percent. It was followed by Illinois and Mississippi, each at 9.1 percent.
Nationally, the economy added 175,000 jobs in May, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6 percent.
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