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Unemployment up in region

Northern California counties post record-high jobless rates
by Lee Juillerat, Herald and News 3/26/09

   February unemployment levels were the highest in more than a decade in both Modoc and Siskiyou counties.
   Figures from the California Labor Market Information Division show February’s unemployment figures reached 18.1 percent in Siskiyou County and 15.5 percent in Modoc County. The rates are the highest for the month since Siskiyou recorded 19.3 percent unemployment in 1996 and Modoc reported 17 percent in 1998.
“I don’t have any idea where they’re going,” said Susan Molyneux of the California Employment Development Depar tment. Although unemployment rates typically drop in March, “These are unusual times. Certainly everyone is dealing with economic downturns.”

Siskiyou up 5.4 percent
   The Siskiyou unemployment rate is an increase from 17.6 percent in January and well above the 12.2 rate in February 2008.
   Of the county’s estimated 19,760 work force, 3,590 were unemployed in February. The declines were especially impacted by the construction sector, where the number of jobs dropped from 350 to 320, and down from 420 a year ago. And in “financial activities,” the number of jobs slipped from 410 a year ago to 330.
   The only increases from January came in small doses in the nondurable goods and the local, state and federal government sectors.
   The Modoc County unemployment rate of 15.5 percent is slightly above the adjusted January unemployment rate of 15.3 percent and higher than the 12.0 rate in February 2008.
   Eligible workers
   Of the county’s 4,050 eligible workers, 630 were not employed in February. Despite the economic slump, since February 2008 the number of workers in Modoc County has increased from 3,790 while the number of unemployed has climbed from 450.
   “We don’t know why people move from one county to another,” Molyneux said of the increase in Modoc workers.


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