The unemployment rate in the East Bay dropped more than a half-point in September, due in large part to seasonal hiring in schools.
The jobless rate in the region fell to 8.5 percent last month, down from 9.2 percent in August, according to the state Employment Development Department.
Alameda County's rate was 8.6 percent in September, down from 9.3 percent in August.
Contra Costa County's rate was 8.4 percent, down from 9.0 percent in August.
The work force in the two counties rose to 971,000 in September, up almost 13,000 from the 958,100 jobs reported in August.
Public and private schools were the primary reason. They added 13,800 employees last month as schools began their fall sessions. School employment is 21,800 higher than a year ago.
Among the other increases was a 1,400 addition in construction jobs. Historically, September sees a decrease in construction work. This is the second straight month the East Bay construction industry has seen job growth.
Financial and leisure services added 400 jobs while professional and business services added 200 jobs.
Trade, transportation and utilities lost 500 jobs. Other services decreased by 700 jobs.
The unemployment rate measures people who live in East Bay towns. The job numbers measure employees at companies in these communities.
Most East Bay towns saw about a half-point drop in their unemployment rates.
In Contra Costa County, Concord's jobless rate decreased to 9.1 percent while Walnut Creek dipped to 5.7 percent.
In the San Ramon Valley, Alamo's rate was listed at 3.1 percent, Danville at 4.4 percent and San Ramon at 3.5 percent.
In Alameda County, Oakland's rate now stands at 13.1 percent while Berkeley recorded 8.2 percent.
San Leandro's rate dropped to 6.5 percent while nearby Ashland had a 10.0 percent and Cherryland recorded 12.5 percent.
San Lorenzo's jobless rate dipped to 6.4 percent while Castro Valley fell to 5.1 percent.
In the Tri-Cities' area, Fremont's jobless rate was 6.2 percent, Newark was 8.0 percent while Union City was 8.1 percent.
In the Tri-Valley, Pleasanton's unemployment rate was 4.3 percent, Dublin was 5.2 percent and Livermore was 5.6 percent.