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A Puzzling California Jobs Report

CPR file photo/Andrew Nixon

CPR file photo/Andrew Nixon

Despite unimpressive job growth last month, California's unemployment rate dropped in November for the first time in months.

The jobless rate last month was 5.3 percent, after holding steady at 5.5 percent since July. It had previously dropped as low as 5.2 percent in May before rising during the summer.

But California added just 13,600 jobs last month.

Usually, when the unemployment rate drops and the state doesn't add that many jobs, it means the size of the labor force shrunk because people stopped looking for work.

But the labor force increased slightly last month, and civilian employment went up even more.

It just underscores that it's better to not read too much into one month's data -- we should wait and see if trends emerge in the next few months.

Over the last year, California's unemployment rate has dropped from 5.9 percent to 5.3 percent, and the state has added roughly 375,000 new jobs.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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