California economy adds 28,400 jobs in November

California economy adds 28,400 jobs in November

California's economy added 28,400 jobs in November, a sharp acceleration from October, continuing the state's resounding recovery after the Great Recession.

All major sectors of the economy showed job gains last month, according to revised data released Thursday by the state Employment Development Department. The improvement was driven by construction jobs, which showed the largest increases among the nine industry groups, and retail trade.

In fact, all sectors in retail, construction and services showed gains, while several others lost jobs. The only decline was in information, which reported an 8,000 drop in payrolls, reflecting a decrease in internet and computer jobs.

The figures marked another major milestone in the state's recovery from the recession. California had not added 28,400 jobs in a single month since September 1999, when it gained 29,300 in construction.

California's economy now has reached levels last seen in 2008, at the tail end of the previous recession. The first signs of stabilization in the job market started to show last year, as the economy recovered the 41,000 jobs it lost in the recession from the first quarter of 2016 to the fourth quarter of 2016.

"With the more frequent reports of strong job growth, it's almost taken for granted," said Andrew LePage, an economist at the labor market analysis unit of the labor department. "Our biggest challenge isn't too many jobs; it's not too few jobs."

The state's labor force continues to grow at a steady pace. California's unemployment rate dropped to 5.1% in November from 5.3% in October, and from 5.3% a year earlier.

Average weekly earnings continued to grow by 1.1% in November from a year earlier, the fastest pace in more than a decade. The average weekly earnings in service industries now are 1.5% higher than the average weekly earnings in goods-producing industries.

California's job market has also been buoyed by growth overseas. U.S. exports have been a relatively bright spot for California's economy, said Alex Kendall, chief executive of Best 4 California, a business advocacy group.

"The greater demand for commodities, we've seen those come to California more than ever before," Kendall said. "Our export sector is booming, which is paying off really big."

California's unemployment rate has fallen from a cyclical peak of 10.7% in February 2010, the start of the most recent recession. The state's job market hit its lowest point in December 2007, just before the global financial crisis.

The continued employment growth in California follows similar, if much more modest, growth for the nation overall. California's job growth has been faster, Kendall said, "because we're trying to keep up with the other states."

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