Riverside County’s jobless rate dropped below 8% last month, on the heels of gains in almost every sector of the regional economy, according to figures released Friday by the California Employment Development Department (EDD).
The unemployment rate in March, based on preliminary estimates, was 7.7%, compared to 8% in February, the EDD reported.
The March rate was exactly three percentage points higher than the year-ago level, when countywide unemployment stood at 4.7%. About 85,000 residents were out of work last month, and 1,029,800 were employed, according to the EDD.
March was the third consecutive month that the jobless rate declined, following a surge in claims in December connected to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order, which was rescinded toward the end of January.
Coachella had the highest unemployment rate countywide last month at 13.5%, followed by Mecca at 12.1%, Winchester at 11.3%, East Hemet at 11%, Desert Hot Springs at 10.9%, and the unincorporated community of Highgrove at 10.8%.
The combined unemployment rate for Riverside and San Bernardino counties in March was also 7.7%, down from 8.1% in February, according to the EDD.
Bi-county data indicated payrolls expanded by the widest margin in the hospitality sector, which added 4,900 positions in March, with the transportation and warehousing sector posting the next-highest amount — 4,100.
Additional gains were recorded in the agricultural, construction, information technology, public and professional services sectors, which altogether expanded by 2,800 positions.
Another 1,000 jobs were added in miscellaneous unclassified industries, while the financial services and manufacturing sectors were unchanged.
Only the health services sector registered a payroll decline, totaling 1,100 jobs.
The statewide non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in March was 8.2%.