Unemployment rates in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties are falling but still remain higher than state and national percentages, newly released labor statistics show.
Tuolumne County's unemployment rate was 10.7 percent last month, down from 11.1 percent in February and 13 percent in March 2012, the California Employment Development Department reported Friday.
In Calaveras County, the unemployment rate was 11.9 percent last month, down from 12.4 percent in February and 14.6 percent last year.
California's unemployment rate dropped from 11.1 percent in March 2012 to 9.4 percent last month.
The Mother Lode and state unemployment rates mirror a declining national unemployment rate, but are still higher. The United States unemployment rate in March was 7.6 percent, down from 8.4 percent about a year ago.
The lower unemployment rate in the Mother Lode over the past year may reflect a shrinking workforce as well as an increase in jobs.
Tuolumne County's total civilian labor force (those available to work) consisted of 25,330 people last month - 550 fewer people than in March 2012.
The civilian labor force in Calaveras County also showed a decrease of 550 workers over the past year.
In related data, the Employment Development Department broke down county unemployment rates by cities and "Census designated places" (unincorporated communities recognized in the 2000 Census).
The community in Tuolumne County with the highest unemployment rate last month was Chinese Camp at 21.2 percent. The lowest was Twain Harte at 4.3 percent. In Calaveras County, Mountain Ranch had the highest unemployment rate at 21.9 percent. Dorrington had the lowest rate at zero percent.