Countywide jobless rate rises

RIVERSIDE – Despite a pickup in labor market activity, the unemployment rate crept higher in Riverside County last month, state officials reported last week.

The jobless rate in August, based on preliminary estimates, was 6.5 percent, compared with 6.3 percent in July, according to the California Employment Development Department.

Agency figures showed that the August rate was one-fifth of a percentage point below the year-ago level, when unemployment stood at 6.7 percent.

There were 68,600 Riverside County residents out of work last month, compared with 66,400 in July, data showed.

The unincorporated community of Cabazon had the highest unemployment rate countywide at 15.5 percent, followed by the March Air Reserve Base census-designated community at 12.5 percent and Mecca at 12.2 percent.

The combined unemployment rate for Riverside and San Bernardino counties in August was 6.2 percent, compared with 6.1 percent in July, officials said.

Bi-county data indicated that the public sector posted the biggest gains in the region, adding 7,100 jobs last month – the vast majority of them in education, as teachers and support staff returned from summer break and were counted as back in the workforce.

The construction, health services, information technology and financial services sectors altogether added another 2,600 positions, according to figures.

Conversely, a total 5,400 jobs were lost in farming, manufacturing, retail trade, professional services, hospitality and miscellaneous unclassified industries, the EDD said.

According to the agency, the state’s non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate in August was 5.4 percent.

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