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Berkeley unemployment rate decreases to 9.7 percent, lowest rate since May

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OCTOBER 23, 2011

The city of Berkeley’s unemployment rate decreased to 9.7 percent in September, a 0.5 decrease from the August rate, according to preliminary figures released Friday by the California Employment Development Department.

Berkeley’s labor force in September was 58,000, of which 5,600 were unemployed, according to the department. Unemployment in Berkeley most recently peaked at 11.1 percent in July and August 2010.

The September rate — down 1 percent from the September 2010 rate of 10.7 percent — ties as the lowest this year. In May the unemployment rate was 9.7 percent before climbing to 10.5 percent in July.

A number of neighboring cities also experienced a decrease in their unemployment rates. Some areas like Oakland and Richmond saw moderate drops from 16.1 percent to 15.3 percent and from 16.9 percent to 16.2 percent, respectively. Other cities had smaller fluctuations. Emeryville’s unemployment rate decreased from 7.7 percent to 7.3 percent, and Albany’s fell from 4.6 percent to 4.3 percent.

The trend continued at the county and state levels, as Alameda County’s unemployment rate decreased from 10.7 percent to 10.2 percent.

California’s rate decreased from 11.9 percent to 11.4 percent. The state’s rate most recently peaked in January 2010 when the unemployment rate rose to 13 percent.

The national rate held steady at 9.1 percent from August to September but was 0.5 percentage point lower than a year earlier, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to city spokesperson Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, Berkeley has numerous programs such as YouthWorks and First Source Employment Program to get residents into the labor market. Furthermore, the UC Berkeley provides a major source of employment to the city.

Contact Paras Shah at 


OCTOBER 23, 2011