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San Diego County Unemployment Rate At 6.9 Percent For March

Evening Edition

San Diego County's unemployment rate in March was 6.9 percent, down from a revised 7 percent in February, the state Employment Development Department announced Friday.

In March of last year, the unemployment rate in the region was 7.8 percent.

Phil Blair helps run the San Diego branch of Manpower, a temporary employment agency. He said he’s seen steady job growth over the past few months.

“We saw this time, the unemployment percent, which a lot of people look at, dropped one-tenth of a percent, not very much to drop. But as I said, 12,700 more people are working in San Diego. That is a very good sign. And I think we’re going to see this for the next two to six months,” Blair said.

The education and healthcare sectors also saw growth. The two industries added 2,400 jobs in March. Government and construction each added more than 2,000 jobs.

Total employment in the county, not counting farm industries, is now 1,335,200 jobs.

Blair said the region is adding both high-paying and entry-level jobs.

“I worry about the middle class. I worry about the polarization of jobs. We have this end and that end, and middle America, middle class. Those jobs are harder to find,” Blair said.

San Diego County gained 12,700 non-farm jobs between February and March, led by food services, health care and social assistance, higher education, and arts and entertainment, according to the EDD.

The state agency reported that out of a San Diego County civilian labor force of more than 1.6 million people, 110,700 were without jobs last month. That's roughly 14,000 fewer than March of last year.

Statewide, the unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in March, compared to the U.S. mark of 6.8 percent. Neither the state nor federal figures are seasonally adjusted.

The local unemployment rate has ranged between 6.4 percent and 7 percent for the past seven months.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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