By Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Posted: 12/16/16 – 5:32 PM PST |

California employers added 13,600 jobs in November, marking the weakest showing since March.

That was fewer than half of the 34,400 jobs that were added the previous month but it was still enough to nudge the state’s unemployment rate down to 5.3 percent compared with 5.5 percent the previous month and 5.9 percent a year earlier, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.

The last time the state saw a 5.3 percent unemployment rate was in the summer of 2007.

When viewed through a longer lens, California’s employment gains are significant.

The state’s year-over-year increase of 377,200 jobs — added at a rate of 2.3 percent — easily outpaced the rest of the nation. Florida ranked second with 263,900 jobs added over the past 12 months and Texas came in third with 210,800 new jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

“We pretty much stayed on trend here in Southern California,” said Robert Kleinhenz, executive director of research at Beacon Economics and at the UC Riverside School of Business Administration’s Center for Economic Forecasting and Development. “A couple of industries saw job losses but all of the major industries have seen job gains. The big question is what 2017 will look like.”

Kleinhenz said the coming year will likely see moderate growth.

“The pace of job growth this year has been slower than last year and I think we’ll see that pattern continue in 2017 as labor markets tighten,” he said.

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