Countywide jobless rate falls for 4th straight month

RIVERSIDE – Spurred by growth throughout the regional economy, the unemployment rate in Riverside County dropped below 6 percent last month, state officials reported. The jobless rate in November, based on preliminary estimates, was 5.7 percent, compared to 6.3 percent in October, according to the California Employment Development Department.

The November rate was six-tenths of a percentage point below the level a year ago, when unemployment stood at 6.3 percent. According to EDD figures, the countywide civilian labor force numbered 1,062,100 with roughly 60,400 people out of work in November.

The unincorporated community of Mecca had the highest unemployment rate countywide at 14.9 percent, followed by Cabazon at 11.5 percent and the March Air Reserve Base census-designated community at 11.4 percent. The combined unemployment rate for Riverside and San Bernardino counties in November was 5.5 percent, down from 6.1 percent the prior month.

Bi-county data indicated payrolls expanded by the widest margin in retail trade as businesses ramped up hiring for the holidays. Just over 12,000 jobs were added in that sector last month. The leisure and hospitality industry also stepped up seasonal hiring, adding 3,300 positions, according to the EDD. The government, educational services, financial services and construction sectors altogether expanded by 6,500 jobs, with another 600 added in miscellaneous industries.

The agricultural and professional services sectors were the only decliners, shedding about 900 positions, according to data. The information technology and manufacturing sectors were unchanged.

The state’s non-seasonally-adjusted jobless rate in November was 5 percent, according to the EDD.

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