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San Diego County’s unemployment rate reached 8.8 percent last month, a slight increase from January, the state Employment Development Department reported today. February’s rate a year ago was 5 percent.

The rate was the highest unemployment rate on record for San Diego County in the available data that goes back to 1990, according to an analysis from the Center on Policy Initiatives, a local left-leaning think tank.

San Diego’s rate was lower than the state’s 10.9 percent and the nation’s 8.9 percent jobless rate last month. (All three values are not adjusted for seasonal trends.)

Some of the biggest year-over-year losses:

  • Retail trade lost 8,600 jobs between February 2008 and last month.
  • Construction lost 10,100 jobs over the year — representing 12.9 percent of its workforce, the EDD said.
  • Manufacturing lost 5,200 jobs.

Murtaza Baxamusa, CPI’s research and policy director, commented on those last two sectors’ losses:

This implies that the two industries, construction and manufacturing, have undergone major changes, with almost a quarter of their peak workforce lost. As these two industries are attempting to attract stimulus funding, it is likely they will undergo structural changes to address a growing demand for green jobs.

KELLY BENNETT

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