California's unemployment rate tumbled to 8.6% in May from 9% in April, falling to its lowest level since November 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
The state's employers added 10,800 net jobs to their payrolls last month. The hiring was nearly across the board, with the biggest gains in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 9,000 jobs.
The next-biggest gain was in the government sector, which added 8,400 jobs. The professional and business services sector, which includes white-collar occupations such as architects and lawyers, added 5,200 jobs.
The BLS said the only sector that lost jobs last month was construction, which shed 8,500 positions.
The state's labor force grew by nearly 19,000 people, a signal that the labor market is absorbing new job seekers.
With Friday's report, California is no longer among the three states with the highest unemployment rates. Nevada has the country's highest unemployment rate at 9.5%. Illinois and Mississippi are next, tied at 9.1%.
Since May 2012, California has added 252,100 jobs.
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