Riverside County's jobless rate falls to four-year low

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - For the first time in nearly 4 1/2 years, Riverside County's unemployment rate dipped below 10 percent, state officials reported today.

The county's non-seasonally-adjusted jobless rate in April, based on preliminary estimates, was 9.6 percent, compared to 10.5 percent in March, according to the California Employment Development Department.

The rate was two percentage points below the level of April 2012, when unemployment stood at 11.6 percent.

The last time Riverside County's unemployment rate was below 10 percent occurred in November 2008, when it was 9.9 percent, according to EDD data. The deepening recession drove the figure to as high as 15.2 percent in August 2010, where it peaked and afterward began a languid descent.

According to EDD figures, the civilian labor force last month numbered 941,700 people, with 90,200 out of work.

The unincorporated community of Cabazon had the highest unemployment rate countywide, at 24.5 percent, followed by Mecca at 19.5 percent and Homeland at 19.1 percent, according to the EDD.

The combined unemployment rate for Riverside and San Bernardino counties in April was also 9.6 percent, down from 10.5 percent the prior month.

Bi-county data indicated payrolls expanded in all but five sectors of the regional economy. The largest increase was in professional and business services, where around 2,900 positions were added. Farming, trade, transportation and utilities, financial services and uncategorized industries altogether added another 1,700 jobs.

Payrolls shrank in the public sector, leisure and hospitality, educational and health services, construction and manufacturing. which shed a total 3,100 jobs last month, with the hospitality sector leading the way down, accounting for 45 percent of the loss.

The state's non-seasonally-adjusted jobless rate in April was 8.5 percent, according to the EDD.

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