The unemployment rate in Riverside County last month dipped slightly out of record-high territory to 14.8% as public health measures were eased, according to figures released Friday, but with coronavirus cases resurging across the country, those measures have been reimposed.
The jobless rate in June, based on preliminary estimates, was about a percentage point lower than the 15.9% rate reported in May, according to the California Employment Development Department.
The June rate was about 10% higher than the year-ago level, when countywide unemployment stood at 4.4%.
The EDD’s online database, which supplies regional metrics that begin in January 1990, indicated in April that the last time the jobless rate was close to the current mark was in July 2010, when 14.5% of the county workforce was unemployed at the tail end of the Great Recession.
About 162,300 residents were out of work in June, and 936,900 were employed, according to the EDD.
Statewide this week, unemployment claims jumped to their highest level in two months, an indicator that the renewed coronavirus-related lockdown is reversing the economic recovery that began gaining momentum last month.
“We always knew that controlling the virus was central to the economic recovery, so it’s truly gut-wrenching to watch a new wave of cases trigger this step back in the reopening of businesses and other public places,” said Taner Osman of the Center for Economic Forecasting.
Locally, Desert Hot Springs had the highest unemployment rate countywide at 22.6%, followed by the unincorporated community of East Hemet at 21.8% and Highgrove at 21.6%.
The combined unemployment rate for Riverside and San Bernardino counties in June was 14.3%, down from 14.9% in May, officials said.
Bi-county data indicated payrolls shrank by the widest margin last month in the financial services sectors, which shed 1,200 jobs. The public sector also continued to be in the red, with a loss of 300 jobs.
Center for Economic Forecasting researchers said this week that the strain on public budgets from revenue losses will likely lead to further job losses in the government sector.
On the other hand, the leisure and hospitality industry, hit hard by the lockdowns, saw the largest job growth, adding 21,000 jobs in June. The growth was largely driven by accommodation and food services, a trend that could be short-lived due to renewed pandemic restrictions on commercial activity.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector also saw a large gain of 11,400 jobs.
The state’s jobless rate in June was 15.1%.