California unemployment rate rises after 2 months of decline


This is the first time since December that the state's jobless rate hit or exceeded 11 percent.

Despite the increase, the unemployment rate was still nearly one percentage point better than the rate it was a year ago, which was 11.9 percent.

The state's uptick contrasts with the national trend. The nationwide jobless rate fell slightly in March to 8.2 percent.

California reported that more than 18,000 nonfarm payroll jobs were created in March. That adds to a total gain of nearly 386,000 jobs since the recovery began in September 2009.

Leisure and hospitality led the increase in jobs, adding nearly 14,000 for the month. Other industries that saw increases included mining and logging, trade, transportation and utilities, financial activities, professional and business services, educational and health services and government. Combined, these categories added 37,800 jobs.

Construction, manufacturing, information and other services lost a combined 19,600 jobs.

Over the past year, professional and business services had the biggest increase in jobs, adding more than 66,000. Government recorded the biggest losses, down 46,000 employees.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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