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Jobs Increase... but So Did Joblessness

Unemployment rate rises as region adds 6,200 jobs. Scratching your head?

The number of jobs and the number of people who officially don't have them both rose last month in the East Bay.

The unemployment rate for the region in March increased to 9.8 percent, up from 9.6 percent in February.

However, the region also added 6,200 jobs. The biggest gains came in education and health services, which saw an increase of 2,700 jobs, and leisure and hospitality, which rose by 2,400.

Decreases were seen in the construction industry with a loss of 500 jobs and professional business services, which dropped by 300 jobs.

Cindy Sugrue, a labor market consultant with the state Employment Development Department, said the main reason the unemployment rate ticked up while jobs increased is more people re-entered the labor market.

The unemployment rate in Contra Costa County was 9.9 percent in March. In Alameda County, it was 9.7 percent. Both were slightly higher than February.

City jobless rates are estimated, based on the county numbers, so most cities saw slight increases in their unemployment numbers.

Concord had the highest unemployment rate in central Contra Costa County with 10.7 percent in March.

Pleasant Hill recorded an 8 percent jobless rate while Martinez came in at 7.9 percent.

In Lamorinda, Lafayette had a 3.6 percent rate, Moraga had 5.9 percent and Orinda, 3.8 percent.

In the San Ramon Valley, Danville posted a 5.2 percent rate while San Ramon had 4.1 percent and Alamo came in at 3.7 percent.

Walnut Creek recorded a 6.7 percent rate.

Clayton continued to have the lowest rate in the county at 2.4 percent.

The farming communities of East Contra Costa County and the more urban communities of Richmond, San Pablo and Pittsburg had jobless rates above 15 percent.

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