Contra Costa County Unemployment Soars To 14.5%

Courtney Teague

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA — Preliminary data indicate that 14.5 percent of Contra Costa County residents were unemployed in April, up 10.4 percentage points from the March unemployment rate of 4.1 percent.

That means 54,900 Contra Costa County residents lost their jobs from March to April, according to a Friday report from the California Employment Development Department.

April data for Contra Costa County and other California counties was not seasonally adjusted, meaning the statistics do not take into account seasonal employment patterns. The county's unemployment rate is slightly lower than the statewide, seasonally adjusted average of 15.5 percent, up from 5.5 percent in March. More than 2.3 million Californians lost their jobs from March to April.

The statewide unemployment rate has dipped lower than the 12.6 percent unemployment rate that California saw during the peak of the Great Recession in April 2010. California's employment rate increased 11.3 percentage points since last April, which saw 4.2 percent unemployment.

Nationwide 14.7 percent of Americans are unemployed, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday. The states with the highest unemployment rates were Nevada (28.2 percent), Michigan (22.7 percent) and Hawaii (22.3 percent). The states with the lowest unemployment rates were Nebraska (8.3 percent), North Dakota (8.5 percent) and Utah (9.7 percent).

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Though California's statistics are sobering, they don't reflect recent changes to the economy.

Earlier this month California moved into the second stage of its four-part plan to restart the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Retailers in most counties were allowed to begin serving customers curbside and companies that comprise retail supply chains began to reopen. The state also set criteria for counties to allow dine-in restaurants and other services.

This week the state approved San Diego County's request to allow dining at restaurants and in-store shopping. Tesla's Alameda County factory, which employs some 10,000 people, was allowed to reopen last week.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday that the state could be weeks away from entering into the third phase, which would allow for the reopening of hair salons, in-store retail, places of worship and sports venues without audiences.

There have been 1,200 cases of the coronavirus in Contra Costa County and 36 deaths linked to COVID-19.

More than 86,000 Californians have contracted the coronavirus, including some 3,000 who have been hospitalized and 3,500 people who have died.

Statewide coverage: California Coronavirus: Latest Updates On Cases, Orders, Closures

This article originally appeared on the San Ramon Patch