Countywide jobless rate remains below 5 percent

RIVERSIDE – Healthy gains in several sectors of the regional economy offset losses in other sectors for December, leaving the unemployment rate in Riverside County unchanged, state officials said.

The jobless rate in December, based on preliminary estimates, was 4.3 percent – the same level booked in November, according to the California Employment Development Department.

Agency figures showed that the December rate was exactly one percentage point below the year-ago level, when unemployment stood at 5.3 percent.

About 46,000 Riverside County residents were out of work last month, compared to roughly 46,800 in November, the data showed.

The unincorporated community of Cabazon had the highest unemployment rate countywide at 10.6 percent, followed by the March Air Reserve Base census-designated community at 8.5 percent and Mecca at 8.2 percent.

The combined unemployment rate for Riverside and San Bernardino counties in December was 4.1 percent, unchanged from November.

Bi-county data indicated that the leisure and hospitality sector recorded the biggest gains regionally, adding 4,400 jobs last month. The retail trade and warehousing sector, brimming with activity at the height of the Christmas shopping season, added another 2,700 positions.

The agricultural, manufacturing, professional business services, financial services and information technology sectors also expanded payrolls, by a total 3,200 positions, according to the EDD.

The construction sector recorded the steepest singular loss in December – 1,900 jobs – while an additional 1,900 jobs were shed in the public, educational services and mining sectors, as well as miscellaneous unclassified industries.

According to the EDD, the state’s non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate in December was 4.2 percent.

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