Silicon Valley opened more tech job positions in May, which helped lower the unemployment rate in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area from 9.9 percent to 9.7 percent, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) reported Friday.

It is the first time that the monthly unemployment rate is lower than 10 percent in this area since February 2009. By contrast, the whole state of California’s unemployment rate was 11.7 percent in May 2011.

High tech is doing well in the South Bay, said EDD labor market consultant Ruth Kavanagh.

Actually, there were two categories of activities (information and financial) that added 5200 jobs during the month. However, compared to financial activities, tech payroll employment consistently increased 7.1 percent over last 12 months, while financial employment decreased 0.2 percent during the same period.

The tech-heavy professional and business services sector grew by 1,100 jobs, far above its average 400-job gain between April and May over the prior 21 years, the EDD said.