California’s unemployment rate dipped a half-percentage point in December as the most populous state added 50,700 nonfarm jobs, accounting for more than a quarter of the nation’s 199,000 new jobs for the month, according to new data released Friday.

The state has now regained nearly 72% of the 2.7 million jobs it lost in the early months of the pandemic when Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order in the spring of 2020 to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“In a tug-of-war between the positive economic momentum of the state’s economy and the headwind from COVID, California’s economy is making slow but steady progress forward,” said Sung Won Sohn, a finance and economics professor at Loyola Marymount University.

But he noted the full impact of the omicron wave had not been felt when the the mid-month jobless survey was conducted.

Among other impacts, that forced airlines to cancel holiday flights, businesses to keep employees working from home and schools to revert to online teaching. It also prompted more parents to remain home and added to what has become known as the “great resignation” phenomenon.