Despite a slight increase in Murrieta's jobless rate in January, the numbers dropped in February, preliminary data out Friday from the California Employment Development Department showed.
Murrieta's non-seasonally-adjusted jobless rate in February, based on preliminary estimates, was 7.1 percent, according to the state agency.
The February numbers are down from prior years. For the same month a year ago, the unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in Murrieta. In February 2011, the city's jobless rate was 9.3 percent.
The number of people out of work in Murrieta remained below February's federal unemployment rate of 7.7 percent.
In cities neighboring Murrieta, the unemployment rates during February were 7.4 percent in Temecula, 11.6 percent in Menifee, 9.6 percent in Wildomar and 10.6 percent in Lake Elsinore.
Riverside County's unemployment rate dropped below 11 percent last month as most sectors of the regional economy added jobs.
The county's non-seasonally-adjusted jobless rate in February, based on preliminary estimates, was 10.9 percent, compared to 11.5 percent in January, according to the California Employment Development Department.
The rate was almost two percentage points below the level of February 2012, when unemployment stood at 12.7 percent.
The civilian labor force last month numbered 953,800 people, with 103,800 out of work, according to figures.
The city of Cabazon had the highest unemployment rate countywide, at 27.2 percent, followed by Mecca at 21.8 percent and Homeland at 21.4 percent, according to the EDD.
The combined unemployment rate for Riverside and San Bernardino counties in February was 10.8 percent, down from 11.5 percent the prior month.
Bi-county data indicated payrolls expanded in all but a few sectors. The largest increase was in educational and health services, where around 2,200 positions were added. Roughly 5,000 jobs were added in other sectors
Payrolls shrank in farming, manufacturing, mining, as well as leisure and hospitality, which altogether shed a total 3,000 jobs last month. The biggest drop was in trade, transportation and utilities, where 3,100 losses were recorded. Retail trade accounted for most of the decrease, reflecting a decline in demand for seasonal workers after the holidays.
The state's non-seasonally-adjusted jobless rate in February was 9.7 percent, according to the EDD.
—City News Service and Patch staff contributed to this report.