California Unemployment Rate Holds Amid Inflation Worries

California’s unemployment rate held steady in January as the nation’s most populous state added 53,600 jobs in a sign the economy is slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels.

But soaring inflation over the past year, combined with rising gas prices caused by uncertainty over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, could quickly slow the state’s growth because people are likely to spend less as prices go up.

The latest numbers released Friday show California outperformed the rest of the nation in job growth last year, posting a 7.4% increase compared to the national average of 4.6%. California has now regained 82% of the roughly 2.7 million jobs the state lost in March and April 2020, when Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order that forced many businesses to close because of the pandemic.

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