The unemployment rate in Riverside County began the year little changed from where it was at the end of 2020, with almost 9% of the workforce still displaced, according to figures released Friday by the California Employment Development Department.

The jobless rate in January, based on preliminary estimates, was 8.6%, compared to 8.7% in December, according to the EDD.

The January rate was over four percentage points higher than the year-ago level, when countywide unemployment stood at 4.2%. About 95,000 residents were out of work in January, and 1,010,200 were employed, according to the EDD.

The agency posted the data outside of its usual schedule due to an annual statistical revision process, done in concert with the U.S. Department of Labor, known as “benchmarking,” which is intended to improve accuracy of results. The process will wrap up later this month, at which point the February jobless figures will be released.

In January, Coachella had the highest unemployment rate countywide at 14.6%, followed by Desert Hot Springs at 13.8%, the unincorporated communities of Mecca at 13.5%, Winchester at 12.6%, and East Hemet at 12.3%.

The combined unemployment rate for Riverside and San Bernardino counties in January was also 8.6%, down from 8.7% in December, according to the EDD.

Bi-county data indicated payrolls plummeted by the widest margin in the retail trade sector, which shed 16,600 jobs at the beginning of the year. The leisure & hospitality sector had the next-highest payroll decline with 7,400 losses.

Every other sector posted losses — no gains were recorded — with the exception of the mining and logging industry, which added about 100 positions, figures showed.

The statewide jobless rate in January was 9.2%.

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