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California unemployment rate tops 10 percent

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - California’s unemployment rate rose to 10.1 percent in January from a revised 8.7 percent in December and 6.1 percent a year earlier as recession tightened its grip on the economy of the most populous U.S. state, state officials said on Friday.

Economists had expected California’s jobless rate to climb into double-digits because consumer spending across the state plunged in the wake of Wall Street’s turmoil and payrolls have been thinned at a rapid pace in recent months as companies responded to a weakening national economy. The state’s economy, the world’s eighth largest, also continues to suffer from a prolonged housing downturn.

Reporting by Jim Christie