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State unemployment rate highest since 1941
Tom Abate, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, April 18, 2009
(04-17) 12:06 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- The state unemployment rate soared to 11.2 percent in March, the highest since before World War II, leaving a record 2.1 million Californians out of work, according to a report issued Friday.
Employment Development Department spokeswoman Patti Roberts said the March figure surpasses the 11 percent rate that occurred during the 1980s recession and brings California close to the jobless level of January 1941, when unemployment stood at about 11.7 percent.
Roberts said unemployment is estimated to have been as high as 25 percent during the Great Depression. The highest reliable figure in state archives is the 14.7 percent rate in October 1940.