by Sam Levin
In the East Bay, unemployment keeps on rising. Today the Employment Development Department of California reported that the rate for May, 2009 reached 10.4% (broken down by county, that's 10.7% in Alameda and 10.0% in Contra Costa). This is a small jump from April's 10.2% rate. But compared to last May, the number of jobless individuals in the region has nearly doubled from 5.6%.
The stats in this region are below the California average of 11.2%, but higher than the 9.1% nationwide unemployment rate.
In fact, it's so bad in the East Bay that this May marks the highest unemployment rate in the region since 1990, the earliest point of comparable recorded data, said Justin Wehner, a Contra Costa County labor consultant. "When you look at March, April, and May, this is the deepest we've been. Whether we are at the bottom or it will continue, we'll have to see," he said.
The biggest industry loser is construction, which compared to one year ago has decreased by 9,900 jobs, or 15.1% of the workforce. The runner up is the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, which Wehner said has mostly been influenced by lost retail jobs. This sector lost 9,000 jobs, or 4.6%, in the two East Bay counties.
According to the report, Contra Costa County's unemployement rate ranks twelfth in the state, while Alameda County's ranks seventeeth.