Countywide jobless rate unchanged in March

RIVERSIDE – Losses in a few sectors of the regional economy were offset by gains in others, leaving the unemployment rate in Riverside County unchanged last month, state officials reported last week.

The jobless rate in March, based on preliminary estimates, was 5.5 percent – the same as February, according to the California Employment Development Department.

Agency figures also showed that the March rate was six-tenths below the year-ago level, when unemployment stood at 6.1 percent.

According to the EDD, the countywide civilian labor force numbered 1,062,700, with roughly 58,000 people out of work last month.

The unincorporated community of Cabazon had the highest unemployment rate countywide at 13.4 percent, followed by the March Air Reserve Base census-designated community at 10.6 percent and Mecca at 10.4 percent.

The combined unemployment rate for Riverside and San Bernardino counties in March was 5.3 percent, unchanged from the prior month, officials said.

Bi-county data indicate payrolls expanded in all but three sectors of the regional economy, with the highest growth in the public sector, which added 4,300 jobs in March – mainly a result of more teachers and support staff returning to full-time employment after winter break.

The construction, agricultural, educational services, manufacturing and professional services sectors, along with miscellaneous unclassified industries, altogether generated 7,600 jobs, according to figures.

The retail trade, hospitality and financial services sectors shed a total 2,500 positions, the EDD said. The mining and information technology sectors recorded neither gains nor losses.

The state’s non-seasonally-adjusted jobless rate in March was 5.1 percent, according to the EDD.

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