SACRAMENTO – Officials say a jump in the number of people losing their jobs is pushing California's unemployment rate to its highest level since 1994.
Figures released today by the state Employment Development Department show the state's unemployment rate rose to 9.3 percent last month, a jump from 8.4 percent in November 2008.
The rate caps a tumultuous year of massive job losses and a housing slump that has struck most of the country.
Excluding farmworkers, California lost 78,200 jobs in December as employers sliced payrolls to deal with the slowing economy.
The national unemployment rate jumped to 7.2 percent.
Officials say about 1.7 million Californians were looking for work last month — up 653,000 since December 2007.
The state's unemployment rate was 5.9 percent a year ago.