California unemployment rate dips to 11.9 percent

FRESNO, Calif.

California added a total of 11,800 nonfarm jobs. The gains were led by the construction, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality sectors. Government, education and health care posted declines, according to the Employment Development Department.

The September number was down from 12.1 percent in August and from 12.5 percent during the year-ago period.

A federal survey of households showed an increase in the number of people employed. It estimates 15.9 million Californians held jobs in September, an increase of 85,000 from August.

A separate survey of businesses showed nonfarm jobs in the state totaled 14.1 million in September. California reported 2.1 million people without jobs, roughly the same as the previous month.

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits also dipped. The state reported 494,882 people received benefits in September, down from 543,089 in August.

New claims also were slightly lower.

California continues to have the second highest unemployment rate in the nation, behind Nevada's 13.4 percent. The national rate is 9.1 percent.

The Central Valley's unemployment also dropped.

Merced County has the highest rate at 16 percent. The rate dropped one percent from August.

Madera County checked in at 13.1 percent. Also down one percent.

Fresno County is down one percent now at 14.9 percent.

Kings County has a rate of 14 percent, down one percent.

The rate in Tulare County is at 15 percent, down half a percent.

Mariposa County has the lowest rate at 9.8 percent, down about half a percent.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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