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18.9 percent in county are now jobless
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Nearly 19 out of 100 Stanislaus County residents were out of work in January, according to unemployment figures released by the state of California.

The 18.9 percent unemployment rate is the highest local unemployment rate in 16 years.

The state Employment Development Department released figured on March 10 which noted that an estimated 44,600 were jobless.

The prior month's unemployment rate was 17.3 percent. The rate jumped because 1,000 fewer retail workers were needed after the holiday season and because of the slowdown in other businesses.

On March 26 the state releases the jobless rate for February. Typically the unemployment rate also increases from January to February.

The job picture is expected to grow worse in the region as school districts and local governments lay off workers.

The highest unemployment rate recorded in Stanislaus County occurred in February 1994 when 19.1 percent were out of work.

Statewide 12.5 percent are out of work while the nationwide jobless rate is 9.7 percent.

Historically more jobs come on line in March and April with agricultural production and other seasonal work.

The expected closure of Fremont's New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant this month is expected to put 300 Stanislaus County residents out of work.