By DON THOMPSON / Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- After a long twilight, business is booming again at Matt Construction as orders come in for hotels, office complexes and other high-end buildings.
The Los Angeles-area company increased hiring by about 20 percent this year, adding 30 employees as more and bigger construction jobs piled up.
Stories like that are a major reason that California's jobless rate dipped below 10 percent last month for the first time since the recession began.
The 9.8 percent unemployment rate reported Friday by the Employment Development Department is down from 10.1 percent in October.
It marks the first time in nearly four years that the rate dropped into single digits.
The improvement comes as something of a surprise, as leading economists had predicted that California's unemployment rate would remain in double digits through 2013.