By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SACRAMENTO -- California's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in June as the state continues to close the gap on the national jobless rate, the state Employment Development Department announced Thursday.
The jobless rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point. It was 8.6 percent in May, which was the first time in five years the state rate had dipped below 9 percent.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.6 percent in June.
In Kern County, the jobless rate rose to 11.5 percent in June from May's 10.9 percent. (The county numbers are not seasonally adjusted; for comparison, California's unadjusted unemployment rate in June was 8.8 percent, and the nation's was 7.8 percent.)
Kern farming employment rose by 4,000 jobs in June, or 7.9 percent. Those gains were undermined by the loss of 1,700 local government jobs, or 4.3 percent.
Jobs were added in oil (400 positions, or 3.2 percent), construction (300, or 1.7 percent) and professional and business services (300, or 1.1 percent).
Overall, Kern County added 3,200 jobs in June, or 1.1 percent. At the same time, its total labor force grew by 1,800, or half a percent, the department reported.
The state agency said California added 30,200 jobs in June, more than any other state. That was a gain of 16,800 jobs from May.
The jobs added were concentrated in trade, health care, leisure and hospitality, and government. Manufacturing posted a small gain in June, but the number of construction jobs declined over the month.
The latest jobless rate means eight other states now have higher unemployment rates than California. It puts the state's unemployment rate at its lowest level since November 2008.
The overall number of Californians holding jobs in June was slightly above 17 million, up more than 500,000 from the employment total in June of last year. Meanwhile, the number of people unemployed was about 1.6 million, down 373,000 compared to the same month last year.
The state released its employment data a day early due to an inadvertent data release by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
-- Californian staff writer John Cox contributed to this report.