California unemployment remains at 12.4 percent

January 22, 2010 6:49:14 PM PST
California's unemployment rate held steady at 12.4 percent in December, the state Department of Economic Development reported Friday.

The state said last month that the November unemployment rate was 12.3 percent, but officials revised that figure to 12.4 percent.

There were 38,800 fewer jobs in California in December than there were in November, the state reported.

Imperial County in Southern California had the highest unemployment rate in the state at 27.7 percent. Marin County's rate was the lowest, at 7.8 percent.

More than 2.2 million Californians were without work in December. The number does not include the nearly 500,000 workers who have taken low-paying or part-time jobs because that's all they could find, or the 115,000 people who have given up looking for work, according to the state.

December capped off a dismal year where the state lost more than a half-million jobs. While most industries cut employment, there was one bright spot: Education and health care posted a 1.3 percent increase for the year.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, California has the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the nation.

Michigan tops the nation with 14.6 percent, followed by Nevada, Rhode Island and South Carolina. The nation's overall unemployment rate was unchanged in December at 10 percent.