San Diego’s unemployment rate in March dropped to 7.7 percent down from a revised 8 percent in February, and the lowest it’s been since December 2008, according to the state’s Employment Development Department.

The regional jobless rate was below California’s adjusted rate of 9.4 percent but above that of the nation, which was 7.6 percent for the same month.

Over the month, the area gained a net of 8,300 jobs to bring the nonfarm employment to 1.275 million. Over the full 12 months to March, the area showed a net gain of 32,600 jobs, up 2.6 percent from the March 2012 total employment number.

During the month, the two sectors contributing the most to the net gain were leisure and hospitality, up 3,600 jobs, and education and health services, up 2,800.

Over the full year, the professional and business services sector, which includes temporary staffing positions, showed a net gain of 11,600 jobs. The next biggest job creating sectors were leisure and hospitality, up 6,800; education and health services, up 6,600; and the sector that includes retail trade, up 2,200.

Except for mining and logging, which was flat over the year, every sector showed higher total jobs than had been seen 12 months earlier, the EDD report stated.

— SDBJ Staff Report