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The East Bay gained 3,100 jobs in November. In this file photo, Marine reservist Ryan Sumida, of Citrus, Heights, left, greets Sharon Taylor of San Francisco's Department of Veteran's Affairs Medical Center during the U.S. Chamber and Recruit Military's Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair for Veterans and Military Spouses in Oakland, Calif. on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. 500 people pre-registered for the event in which 33 employers participated in. Toyota was a lead sponsor of the event. (Jane Tyska/Staff)

The Bay Area job market continued as the state's strongest after a gain of 2,900 jobs in November, a month that saw the California jobless rate slip below 10 percent for the first time in nearly four years, the state reported Friday.

The employment boom linked to the rise of the Internet, social media, software and mobile communications is the primary driver of that robust job market in the nine-county region.

The East Bay could be enjoying some of that benefit. The Alameda County-Contra Costa County region was the strongest market in the Bay Area during November, even as job growth stayed strong in the South Bay.

"Without a doubt, the strong tech economy in the South Bay, Peninsula and San Francisco is a factor in the Bay Area recovery," said Jeffrey Michael, director of the Stockton-based Business Forecasting Center at University of the Pacific. "The strength of that tech economy is spreading out farther and reaching more geographic areas."

California's jobless rate improved to 9.8 percent in November, compared with 10.1 percent in October.

The November jobless rate statewide was the lowest since California chalked up a 9.7 percent unemployment rate in January 2009, the state's Employment Development Department reported.


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Despite the improvement in the jobless rate, California lost 3,800 payroll jobs. The jobless rate and the payroll numbers can move in opposite directions at times because they are derived from different surveys to measure the employment market.

The job losses statewide contrasted with the sturdy gains in the Bay Area.

The job gains in the Bay Area were powered by an upswing of 3,100 jobs in the East Bay and 600 in the South Bay. The San Francisco-San Mateo-Marin region lost 100 jobs.

The EDD also delivered a cheery message for the region by disclosing that the job market in the Bay Area -- especially in the South Bay -- was far stronger than originally thought.

"The overarching message in all this is that the economy and the job market continue to move forward," said Jordan Levine, director of economic research with Beacon Economics.

Instead of a gain of 8,800 jobs in October, the Bay Area actually added 11,700 jobs after the EDD revised its data. And the South Bay, rather than gaining 3,400 jobs as first estimated, actually added 5,400 jobs, after the revisions.

During the first 11 months of 2012, the Bay Area has added nearly 91,000 jobs. That's nearly double the pace for the first 11 months of 2011, when the gains were just under 49,000.

"Most of the gains have come from the San Francisco and San Jose metro areas, but in the last year the East Bay joined the recovery," said Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.

During the first 11 months of 2012, the South Bay added nearly 29,000 jobs, while the San Francisco-San Mateo-Metro region has gained more than 28,000 jobs. Over the same period of time, the East Bay has added nearly 23,000 jobs.

In November, the strongest industry in the East Bay was retail, which added 1,600 jobs. Repair, personal, laundry and other services added 1,100 jobs, while construction gained 800 jobs, according to a Beacon Economics analysis of the EDD numbers.

The South Bay's two strongest industries in November were construction and professional and scientific technical services, which each gained 1,000 jobs. The information, Internet, software, telecommunications and media industry gained 700 jobs, Beacon calculated.

The East Bay jobless rate was 8.6 percent in November, unchanged from October. The South Bay jobless rate was 8 percent, an improvement from October's rate of 8.1 percent. The San Francisco metro jobless rate was 6.6 percent, unchanged from October.

Analysts believe California's improving jobless rate is a signal the state has turned the corner.

"It's a surprise, but I'm pleasantly surprised by the statewide jobless rate improvement," Michael said. "There are still a lot of people on the sidelines who need jobs in California. But the sub 10 percent jobless rate is a positive development."

Contact George Avalos at 408-373-3556 or 925-977-8477. Follow him at Twitter.com/george_avalos.