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California sets jobs record

After seven years of slowdown, recession and recovery, California last month finally surpassed the record number of jobs it had before the recession began, thanks to job growth that has been outpacing the rest of the nation, according to data released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.

San Diego County, which topped its pre-recession employment record in January, set a new record last month by adding 4,000 jobs, bringing the yearly total to 35,000.

That's the best year-to-year employment growth the county has experienced in more than a year, said Lynn Reaser, chief economist for Point Loma Nazarene University at the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute.

The county's 2.6 percent year-to-year growth outperformed both the statewide average of 2.4 percent and the national average of 1.8 percent.

"While San Diego faces the same risks from international developments and financial markets confronting the rest of the country, the region's progress is impressive," Reaser said. "San Diego's economy is developing a good momentum."

All major local industries were in hiring mode last month, not counting the temporary layoffs at local schools at the beginning of the summer vacation season.

Reaser was particularly impressed by the hiring in construction, which added 800 workers in June for a year-to-year total of 5,200 new hires — an 8.5 percent increase.

Other big job gains in June included 500 financial and real estate workers, 400 factory workers and 200 workers in information services.

Because job growth has not yet caught up with population growth, unemployment remains uncomfortably high, but it has been steadily improving. Between May and June, the statewide rate dropped from 7.6 percent to 7.4 percent, while San Diego slid from 6.1 percent to 5.8 percent after adjusting for seasonal fluctuations, according to Reaser's calculations.

During the same period, the national jobless rate fell from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent.

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