City, state, national unemployment rates unchanged in February

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The city of Berkeley’s unemployment rate showed no change in February, staying at January’s rate of 9.1 percent, according to preliminary figures released Friday by the California Employment Development Department.

The state of California and the nation’s unemployment rates also stagnated in February, with the state’s showing no change from its January rate of 10.9 percent, and the national rate staying at its January level of 8.3 percent.

The city of Berkeley had reached its lowest unemployment rate in nearly three years — 8.9 percent — in December, but showed a small uptick in January. The city’s unemployment rate had been dropping consistently in the second half of 2011, falling from the year’s high of 10.4 percent in July to 8.9 percent in December.

Similarly, the state’s unemployment rate had been falling since August, starting at 12.1 percent in August and eventually hitting a low of 10.9 percent in January. Nationally too, the unemployment rate lowered consistently between August and January, dipping from 9.1 percent to its January rate of 8.3 percent.

The labor force in Berkeley fell from 58,900 in January to 59,300 in February. There were 5,400 people unemployed in Berkeley in February, an increase from the 5,300 unemployed in the city in January.

Soumya Karlamangla is the city news editor.