California's unemployment rate dropped to 8.5 percent in February.

California’s unemployment rate dropped 0.5 percentage points to 8.5 percent in February as the state’s employers gained 141,000 jobs, according to data released on March 26 by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys.

This comes after January’s downward-revised (-10,100 jobs) month-over loss of 80,000 jobs. December and January combined for a two-month total of 155,400 jobs lost, but February’s gain recovered nearly 91 percent of that loss, the EDD said.

California has now regained nearly 39 percent of the 2,714,800 total non-farm jobs lost in March and April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The unemployment rate in San Bernardino County was 8.1 percent in February, while Riverside County's rate was 8.0 percent.

"This month marks the lowest unemployment rate California has seen since the onset of the pandemic last year," said Dee Dee Myers, the director of the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, in a joint statement with California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su. "Today's news, along with the Governor’s announcement this week that California is continuing to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, is a milestone in our ongoing recovery.

"At the same time, the pandemic and associated unemployment have had a disproportionate impact on women and communities of color. Latino and Asian American workers have been hard hit on the front lines as essential workers. African Americans have applied for unemployment benefits at astounding rates, further evidence of the inequities we must address to ensure a strong, equitable recovery. As we all continue to do what we can to protect ourselves and our communities -- wearing masks, washing our hands and getting vaccinated -- we are committed to a strong, equitable and safe recovery."

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