Berkeley’s unemployment rate drops to 9.6 percent, lowest this year

The city of Berkeley’s unemployment rate fell to 9.6 percent in October, the lowest it has been this year, according to preliminary figures released Friday by the California Employment Development Department.

Berkeley’s labor force was 58,000 in October, of which 5,600 were unemployed, according to the department.

October’s rate of 9.6 percent comes in just below the September rate of 9.7 percent, which tied with May as the previous low of 2011.

The number of people employed in the city rose from 52,300 in September to 52,500 in October.

While the unemployment rate in Berkeley is lower than the rate in both Alameda County and the state of California at large, it lingers above the national average of 9 percent.

Still, over the course of the past 12 months, Berkeley has seen nearly a 1 percent drop in its unemployment rate, which was 10.5 percent last October.

The unemployment rate in the county overall in October was 10.1 percent, although rates varied dramatically throughout the county. Albany’s rate was at 4.3 percent and Oakland’s was at 15.2 percent.

The state’s unemployment rate dropped as well, decreasing from 11.9 percent in September to 11.7 percent in October.

California accounted for 25,700 out of the 80,000 jobs created across the nation in October, according to a Friday press release from the state Employment Development Department.

Jobs were added in a variety of sectors including construction, education, health services and leisure and hospitality, according to the report.

Despite the job growth, California has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation, sitting behind Nevada, which had an unemployment rate of 13.4 percent in September, according to the most recently available data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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