California unemployment rate drops to 7.4 percent

The Associated PressJuly 18, 2014 

— The unemployment rate in California dipped to 7.4 percent in June to the lowest figure in six years, officials reported Friday.

The state gained 24,200 jobs during the month, bringing the total to more than 1.35 million jobs added since February 2010, when the jobless number hit a peak of 12.4 percent, the Employment Development Department said.

Education and health services posted the largest increases in June, adding 12,200 jobs for the month. Construction posted the biggest loss, with 9,500 fewer jobs.

The health sector gains may be driven by President Obama's health care overhaul as the program expands insurance coverage, said Michael Bernick, a former director of the employment department.

California's jobless rate remained above the national average of 6.1 percent.

A federal survey of households shows that more than 300,000 jobs have been added since June of 2013, and about 1.4 million people remain unemployed.

The unemployment figures do not include people who have stopped looking for work.

The coastal areas of California continued to see low unemployment rates, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, where San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties were at 4.5 percent or less.

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