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East Bay Unemployment Rate Drops

The region added 600 jobs as the jobless rate fell one-half of a percentage point

by Dave Mills

Although the region added only 600 new jobs last month, the East Bay's unemployment rate dropped a half-percentage point to 6.3 percent in December.

The region's jobless rate had fallen from 7.0 to 6.8 percent in November while the East Bay added 4,900 jobs. The rate dropped by a larger margin last month even though fewer jobs were created, meaning a significant number of unemployed people probably stopped searching for work.

The California Employment Development Department said the jobless rate last month was 6.3 percent in Alameda County, while in Contra Costa County it was 6.4 percent. 

Newark's unemployment rate was 5.8 percent of the labor force, which included 22,800 people. Oakland had the highest unemployment rate in the county, 9.7 percent. 

The town with the lowest unemployment rate in the county was Albany at 2.6 percent followed by Pleasanton at 3.1 percent and Piedmont at 3.2 percent.

State officials said the East Bay added 2,700 jobs in trade, transportation and utilities, more than half of that total coming in retail trade.

Private education and health services added 1,000 jobs. The financing sector added 300 jobs while manufacturing had 200 more jobs.

However, the construction industry lost 1,600 jobs and government agencies shed 900 jobs.

Special services lost 500 jobs while 200 jobs were lost in business and professional services as well as in leisure and hospitality.

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