The unemployment rate hit 8.8 percent in July, up from 8.5 percent in June, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor and Industry. It is the second straight month the unemployment rate increased even though the number of Valley residents working grew.
A total of 395,300 Valley area residents had jobs in July, the highest that number has been since November 2008, just as the Great Recession was taking hold. But the workforce is growing at a faster pace.
From May to July, 6,700 new workers entered the labor pool, but fewer than half of them — 3,200 — found jobs. When the workforce grows faster than businesses add jobs, the unemployment rate goes up.