SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California’s jobless rate dipped below 10 percent last month for the first time since the recession began, the state announced Friday, signaling that the state’s economy may have finally turned the corner.
The 9.8 percent unemployment rate reported by the Employment Development Department is down from 10.1 percent in October.
It marks the first time in nearly four years that the rate dropped into single digits. The last time was in January 2009, when the rate was 9.7 percent.
Leading economists had predicted that California’s unemployment rate would remain in double digits through 2013.
Only Nevada and Rhode Island had jobless rates remaining in double-digits. California still lagged behind the national unemployment rate of 7.7 percent in October.
California has added more than 564,000 nonfarm payroll jobs since the recovery began in 2010, the department said. About 14.4 million Californians were working, though there was a decrease of 3,800 jobs since October.
“It’s continuing the trend,” department spokesman Kevin Callori said. “It’s a respectable pace for growth and an expanding economy.”
The month-over-month employment gain was the largest since 1990, he said, while November saw the second largest monthly drop in civilian unemployment on record.
It marked the fourth consecutive unemployment rate decrease, though there was a slight loss in civilian jobs for the first time in 16 months.
“It’s probably more of an aberration than a real change in trend,” Callori said of the job loss. “We seem to see a pattern of two or three months of strong job growth followed by a month of slower job growth.”