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California adds 29,400 jobs in February as unemployment rate falls further to 6.7 percent

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SACRAMENTO, California — California's unemployment rate fell for the second consecutive month since the start of the year to 6.7 percent in February, a state agency reported Friday.

California added 29,400 jobs last month for a total gain of 1.8 million positions since the economic recovery began in February 2010, according to the state Employment Development Department. The last time the unemployment rate was this low was June 2008.

The national unemployment rate also decreased last month to 5.5 percent.

Eight categories added jobs in February, with leisure and hospitality posting the largest increase over the month, adding 12,600 jobs.

The overall number of people who are unemployed also fell by 42,000 and is now less than 1.3 million.

January's unemployment rate was revised to 7 percent after the state reported a gain of 59,100 jobs that month.

However, unemployment insurance claims were up slightly for the month. The state reported that there were 426,874 people receiving benefits in February, compared to 397,142 in January.

New claims also ticked up from 40,989 in January to 43,302 in February.

California's unemployment rate continues to vary widely by region. The San Francisco Bay Area enjoys the state's lowest rates with San Mateo County reporting a 3.5 percent unemployment rate, the lowest county in the state.

Colusa County had the highest unemployment rate at 22.7 percent.

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