Cal-jobs

California employers shed nearly 32,000 jobs in January, the state's Employment Development Department reported Friday. Still, the unemployment rate declined to 8.1% from 8.3% in December. Above, job seekers line up at a job fair in San Diego last month. (Sam Hodgson / Bloomberg / February 27, 2014)

California appeared to go in the opposite direction of the national economy in January, shedding a net 31,600 jobs that month, the state's Employment Development Department reported Friday. 

Despite the weak showing in employers' payrolls, the unemployment rate declined to 8.1% from 8.3% the month before, according to state employment data. 

Large job losses were recorded in the trade, retail and transportation industries, which as a whole shed nearly 14,000 jobs. The volatile information sector, which includes the film and television industry, contracted by nearly 13,000 jobs.

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Professional and business services, which includes well-paying occupations such as lawyers and accountants, posted the largest gain, expanding by 8,300 positions.

The report had one small bright spot: The unemployment rate declined despite an increase of 21,000 people in the state's labor force, a signal that more job seekers are feeling confident enough to resume looking for work.

The EDD also reported that December's job gains were revised upward to 17,200. In the last two months, the state has shed a net 14,400 jobs.

While the two-month average is negative, Friday's jobs report showed that over the year, California employers' payrolls expanded by 2.1%, outpacing the U.S. Employers have added a net 319,500 jobs since January 2013, according to newly revised data from the EDD. 

Professional and business services added the most number of jobs since January 2013, adding 90,300 jobs. 

The U.S. gained 170,000 jobs in January and on Friday the Labor Department reported that 175,000 new positions were added nationally in February. The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.7% last month.

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