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California unemployment rate falls to 8 percent

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California's unemployment rate continues its steady decline, reaching 8 percent in February.

The jobless figure reported Friday was down slightly from the month before but remains above the national average of 6.7 percent. California's 7.9 percent unemployment rate in September 2008 was the last time it was below 8 percent.

The state Employment Development Department also reported that almost 59,000 nonfarm jobs were added in February, a quarter of them in health care and education. That follows a drop of 32,000 jobs in January.

Manufacturing posted the largest decrease, losing 2,600 jobs.

California has 1.5 million unemployed residents, shrinking by about 245,000 from the same period a year ago. Unemployment numbers do not include people who stopped looking for work.

The numbers come from separate surveys of employers and households.

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