SACRAMENTO, Calif. -

California's jobless rate dipped to 9.6 percent last month, the lowest in more than four years. 

The state's Employment Development Department reported Friday that the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since December 2008, signaling a continued improvement in the state economy.

The rate fell from 9.8 percent in January after falling below double digits this past winter.

The department reports nonfarm jobs increased by 41,200 during the month, bringing the number to 14.6 million. That's compared to only 4,200 jobs gained in January.

The survey found the greatest job gains came in construction, financial services and leisure and hospitality. Manufacturing, transportation and health services slipped over the month.

The number of people unemployed in California fell below 1.8 million in February. That's down from 2 million last February.

Locally, in the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area, unemployment fell to 10.8 percent for February, down from 11.5 percent in January, and below the year-ago estimate of 12.6 percent.