Caifornia jobless rates tops 11 percent

Unemployment broke the 11 percent mark in California last month, rising to a level not seen since the tail end of the Great Depression, state officials said today.

The statewide unemployment rate rose to 11.2 percent in March, up from a revised 10.6 percent, the Employment Development Department said. That was the highest since January 1941, when it reached 11.7 percent. Under the standards of modern record keeping, which only goes back to 1976, the March unemployment rate was the worst, topping the 11 percent recorded three times in the early 1980s.

Sacramento-area unemployment jumped to 11.3 percent, a half-point jump from the month before. That was the region's worst ever. Unemployment in Sacramento actually hit 12.9 percent in January 1983, but the geographical boundaries of the region were different then.

The numbers showed the recession deepening, as 62,100 payroll jobs disappeared across the state during March. But that was only about half as bad as the record job loss from February, and state officials took some heart in that.

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