California unemployment falls slightly

The Associated Press
Monday October 14, 2002

LOS ANGELES – California’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 6.3 percent in September from August’s revised figure of 6.4 percent, state officials reported on Friday. 

Despite the decrease, the jobless rate remained well above the 5.7 percent recorded in September 2001. 

It also was higher than the national numbers. Last week, the U.S. Labor Department reported the jobless rate fell to 5.6 percent in September. 

About 1.1 million Californians were unemployed last month, according to the California Employment Development Department. 

Of those unemployed, 650,000 were laid off, 88,700 left their jobs voluntarily and the rest were either re-entering the labor market or joining it for the first time, the EDD said. 

The largest job losses were in government, which showed a net loss of 16,000 positions on a seasonally adjusted basis. Local government led the way, losing 14,500 positions. 

Most of the 9,600 jobs added during the month were in health services, motion pictures and business services. 

“What we feel is a real positive is that the big drop was in government jobs and that private sector jobs actually showed a small gain,” said Michael Bernick, director of the EDD. 

Regionally, San Francisco and Los Angeles counties, at 6.7 percent and 6.5 percent respectively, had higher jobless rates than the state average. 

In Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley, unemployment fell slightly to 7.7 percent. Santa Barbara and Orange counties posted two of the lowest rates in the state at 3.8 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.