SACRAMENTO — California's unemployment rate dipped slightly in August to 10.6 percent, down from 10.7 percent the previous month, the state reported Friday.

The numbers from the Employment Development Department are an improvement over California's 11.9 percent unemployment rate a year ago and show the state's economy is continuing its slow recovery.

The state added 12,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in August. The state has added nearly 300,000 new jobs over the past year, with job growth in 12 of the past 13 months.

Half a dozen sectors grew in August, including construction, manufacturing, financial activities, and hospitality. The biggest gains were seen in the educational and health services sector, which added 8,900 jobs.

Five industries shed jobs, including mining and logging, and transportation. The biggest losses in the government sector, which shrunk by 7,400 jobs.

The number of people unemployed in California fell by 27,000 in August to 1,935,000. But that was in part due to people giving up on active job searches. The total labor force shrunk by about 66,000 people.

A forecast released this week projected that California job growth would pick up slowly in the coming year, with the unemployment rate dropping to 8.5 percent in 2014.

The UCLA Anderson Forecast predicted unemployment will remain in the double digits through 2013, though California's tech boom has been helping the state outperform the nation in job creation since 2010.

The national unemployment rate in August was 8.1 percent. California's jobless rate remains the third-highest in the nation, behind Nevada and Rhode Island.

"The trend is continuing where we're seeing job gains," said Kevin Callori, a spokesman for the state Economic Development Department. "We're continuing to try to make back up the jobs we lost during the recession, but we are at least gaining jobs."

Know Your Rights

California law prohibits lawyers or others acting on behalf of a lawyer from:

— Soliciting clients at an accident scene, at a hospital, or on the way to a hospital.

— Soliciting clients who, due to their physical, emotional or mental state, may not be able to have reasonable judgment about the hiring of an attorney .

— Seeking clients by mail unless the letter and envelope are clearly labeled as an advertisement.

— Promising a particular outcome from legal representation.

In the wake of the fires, there is also the risk of victims being approached by people posing as attorneys. Consumers should determine if they are legitimate and licensed to provide legal services. Before hiring an attorney, look up their name or State Bar number on the State Bar website — www.calbar.ca.gov — to check the status of their license to practice law and whether they have any record of discipline.

Source: State Bar of California