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California jobless rate dips below 10 percent

SACRAMENTO — After a long twilight, business is booming again at Matt Construction as high-end orders come in for hotels and office complexes.

The Los Angeles-area company increased hiring by about 20 percent this year, adding 30 employees as more construction jobs — and bigger ones — piled up.

Such stories are a major reason California's jobless rate dipped below 10 percent last month for the first time since the recession began. The 9.8 percent unemployment rate reported Friday by the Employment Development Department is down from 10.1 percent in October.

The last time the unemployment rate was in single digits was in January 2009, when the number was 9.7 percent.

The improvement, led by a surge in technology jobs that have spurred a wave of new construction, comes as something of a surprise. Leading economists had predicted that California's unemployment rate would remain in double digits through 2013.


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