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Unemployment

April 14, 2002

rate in county

continues to dip

By LAURA MITCHELL

Staff Writer

Unemployment figures for March released by the state show Imperial County's

unemployment rate is still dropping even though the state total increased slightly.

The county's unemployment rate last month was 13.5 percent, a full point lower than February's 14.5 percent. February's rate was the lowest for the county since 1983.

The monthly labor force data released by the California Employment Development Department on Friday shows unemployment for the state increased from 6.4 percent in February to 6.5 percent in March.

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The department ranked Imperial County as the county with the 47th highest unemployment rate in the state, which also bests February's ranking of 48 of 58 counties.

January's unemployment rate was 16.5 percent. Unemployment numbers for the county have dropped steadily since the end of last year from a recent high in September 2000 when it was 35 percent.

Imperial County has historically held the dubious title of California's highest unemployment rate.

The Brawley Beef plant, which opened in January and brought more than 600 new jobs to the county, is one of the reasons the county has better employment numbers, county Office of Employment Training Director Sam Couchman said when February's numbers were released.

Couchman also said new jobs were created when existing businesses expanded.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or lauramitchell9@yahoo.com

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