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Restaurant Jobs Help Fuel Drop In Unemployment Rate

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Sacramento, CA – California’s unemployment rate fell by half a percent with leisure and hospitality jobs fueling the drop and the Mother Lode did even better.

The Employment Development Departments February jobless rate report showed that California added 141,000 jobs, a reflection of loosening virus restrictions on businesses as more people get vaccinated. The state saw a decrease from 9% in January to 8.5% in February.

In the Mother Lode, Tuolumne County plunged from 9.5%to 8.7% last month. Calaveras followed suit, dropping from 7.3% to 6.6%.

The biggest employment gains came from a surge in restaurant and hotel jobs by more than 102,000, welcome news for an industry hit hard by closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. In all, seven of the state’s eleven industry sectors saw gains. The Government sector had the largest loss of jobs at 6,000.

The state lost 155,400 jobs in December and January when Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a sweeping lockdown due to increased COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths. But in a single month, California gained 91% of those jobs back lowering the unemployment rate to 8.5%, according to EDD data, which notes that is the lowest rate since the pandemic began.

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