Unemployment rate at lowest level since fall 2008

California’s unemployment rate dipped to the lowest level since October 2008, as several industries helped create jobs in June.

The state’s jobless rate dropped to 8.5% in June, compared to 8.6% in May and 10.6% in June 2012, according to the state Employment Development Department. It’s the fifth-consecutive month drop of the unemployment rate.

California added 30,200 jobs last month compared to May 2012 – and 253,900 jobs during the past year, according to the closely watched report.

Seven categories added jobs during the past year, with leisure and hospitality leading the way with 70,800 new positions. Construction had the largest percentage increase at 5.5%, gaining 32,200 jobs.

A career center at a Macy's department store in downtown Sacramento.
A career center at a Macy’s department store in downtown Sacramento.

Construction had 615,500 employees last month, the eighth-consecutive month above 600,000. But the current construction job number pales compared to the peak of 945,100 in February 2006.

Bay Area counties fared the best with the monthly report, with Marin County’s 5.1% jobless rate the lowest in the state. San Mateo, San Francisco and Napa counties finished in second- through fourth-place, each with jobless rates below 6%.

Imperial County has the highest jobless rate at 23.6%.