Berkeley Sees Slightly Higher Unemployment Rate in January

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Following a downward trend in recent months, the unemployment rate in Berkeley rose slightly this January to 10.5 percent, though rates from then and previous months remain substantially lower than the July 2010 peak of 11.3 percent unemployment.

The city's preliminary unemployment rate in January - not seasonally adjusted - increased 0.2 percent from December 2010's rate of 10.3 percent, yet there has been no steady rise in unemployment in the area. Preliminary rates are often revised a month after they are released.

Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington said he does not see the increased rate as a result of the recession, but instead as a result of seasonal layoffs.

Worthington said he would attribute the increase in unemployment to seasonal fluctuations "because a lot of stores hire people for the holidays."

"The immediate change is not worrisome but the long-term continuous unemployment is extremely problematic," he said.

Alameda County unemployment rates also rose slightly recently, jumping from 10.8 percent in December 2010 to 11 percent the next month, not seasonally adjusted.

The preliminary unemployment rate in Richmond was 17.9 percent in January while Oakland's rate was 16.5 percent, both figures not seasonally adjusted.

California, on the other hand, has seen an ongoing increase in its unemployment rate, moving drastically from 5.9 percent seasonally adjusted unemployment in January 2008 to 12.4 percent in January 2011 - 12.7 percent not seasonally adjusted - though the rate seems to be reaching a plateau, as January 2010's rate was 12.3 percent. The national rate has seen a similar increase, though unemployment has leveled off somewhat since May 2009, when it was at a not seasonally adjusted rate of 9.8 percent in January.

Contact Katie Bender at [email protected]

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