LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — California’s unemployment rate decreased to 8.1 percent in January despite the loss of over 31,000 jobs statewide, according to figures released Friday.

KNX 1070’s Bob Brill reports the state Employment Development Department said Friday the rate was down from 8.3 percent in December and from 9.5 percent a year earlier.

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According to officials, the state construction industry lost about 30,000 jobs in January, but the health and education sector fared far better, adding over 30,000 jobs over the same period.

Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics said a harsh cold snap and a seasonal holiday drop-off in consumer activity could be to blame for volatility in the job market.

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“How many flights were canceled in January?” Thornberg said. “People had wanted to get out here, but couldn’t make it for various reasons.”

The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in January.

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