SACRAMENTO, California — California's jobless rate dropped to 6.2 percent in July, a slight decrease from a month earlier, as the state added 80,600 nonfarm payroll jobs, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.
The increase in jobs is an "astounding number," said Michael Bernick, a fellow at the Milken Institute and former director of the department.
Unemployment is now the lowest it has been since February 2008.
Professional and business services spearheaded the growth, posting 22,300 jobs.
No one factor contributed to the magnitude of jobs added in July, Bernick said. California's economy has been steadily recovering since February 2010, and it has shown surprising stability in the face of a harsh four-year drought.
The numbers are based on federal and state surveys of employers and households, but they don't take into account people who have stopped looking for work or those who are working part-time but would rather be working full-time. Nearly 378,000 people claimed California unemployment benefits in July, up more than 15,000 in a month.
In June, California's jobless rate was 6.3 percent, and a year ago it was 7.4 percent.
California's unemployment rate remains higher than the national average, which was 5.3 percent in June and July.
Nine sectors grew in July, including construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; information; financial activities; professional and business services; educational and health services; and leisure and hospitality.
Two sectors reported monthly declines: mining-logging and government. Government saw the largest loss, down 1,100 jobs.
This story has been corrected to remove reference to the most recent job gain of this magnitude in California.