California jobless rate falls to 4.4 percent in January

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California's unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent in January - the lowest figure since 1976.

That's even lower than the previous record low of 4.5 percent that was set in December.

However, it's a fraction higher than the national unemployment rate for January, which was 4.1 percent.

Figures released Wednesday by the state Employment Development Department show that California employers added 35,500 non-farm payroll jobs in January. About 17 million Californians held such jobs.

The largest increase was in the construction sector, followed by trade, transportation and utilities.

California has gained nearly 3 million jobs in an economic expansion that began in 2010.