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Countys unemployment more than double national average
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The latest numbers from the Economic Development Department show the Central Valley continues to feel the lingering effects of a down economy as the unemployment rate ticks upward again.

The unadjusted unemployment rate in Stanislaus County for March was 18.4 percent, up from 18.1 percent in February. The unemployment rate in the county has stayed in the 18 percent range for the first three months of the year. The unemployment rate represents an approximate 43,500 people unemployed in Stanislaus County.

The unemployment rate also grew in Merced and San Joaquin counties. The EDD recorded an unemployment rate of 21.4 percent for Merced County in March, up from 21.3 percent. San Joaquin County’s unemployment rate went from 17.6 percent to 18.4 percent in March.

The unemployment rate in California for March was at 12 percent and the nation’s was at 8.8 percent, according to the EDD.

Stanislaus County’s latest unemployment rate is below the year-ago estimate of 18.7 percent. Historically, the county tends to see a decrease in unemployment beginning in April and extending through September when there are more job opportunities in the farming sector.

For March four industries in Stanislaus County recorded job losses of around 200 positions each, according to the EDD. The four industries are: Trade, Transportation and Utilities; Information; Education and Health Services; and other services. The three industries that saw month over job gains in the county are: Mining, Logging and Construction, Leisure and Hospitality, and Government. Each had an approximate gain of 100 positions.

Statewide, four sectors (information, professional and business services, educational and health services, and government) added jobs over the month, gaining 9,100 jobs.

Educational and health services posted the largest increase over the month, adding 5,100 jobs. Seven categories — mining and logging, construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and other services — reported job declines this month, down 20,700 jobs.

In related data, the EDD reported that there were 630,829 people receiving regular unemployment insurance benefits during the March survey week. This compares with 666,260 last month and 768,583 last year. At the same time, new claims for unemployment insurance were 61,076 in March 2011, compared with 68,203 in February and 70,450 in March of last year.

Locally, Turlock’s unemployment rate rose from 13.9 percent to 14.2 percent. Denair saw a slight increase from 10.1 percent to 10.3 percent and Hughson went from 23.2 percent to 23.7 percent. Unemployment in Keyes grew from 30.6 percent to 31.1 percent.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.