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County labor force shows gains for September

Year-over numbers reflect on-going struggle

POSTED October 21, 2011 9:17 p.m.

The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County continued to show some improvement in September as several industries recorded job growth, according to the latest figures from the Economic Development Department.

While there was improvement for the month and year-end figures, the overall job losses show Stanislaus County still struggling with a depletion of available jobs.

The unadjusted seasonal unemployment rate for Stanislaus County in September was at 15.1 percent, the lowest level recorded in nearly two years. The rate hasn’t been this low since September 2009, when it dipped to 14.9 percent.

The county’s unemployment rate was well below the revised August rate of 16 percent and the year-ago estimate of 15.8 percent.

“Historically, September is a month that has a low rate,” said Nati Martinez, an EDD labor analyst. “We typically see decreases in July, August, and September, but for the last few years we haven’t seen those dips, so this is really good news.”

Overall, Stanislaus County’s number of unemployed decreased by an estimated 2,300, according to the EDD.

The drop in unemployment extended to neighboring counties as well. Merced County’s unemployment rate dropped from 17.5 percent in August to 16 percent in September. San Joaquin County posted an unemployment rate of 15.4 percent in September, down from 16.1 percent in August.

In the month over figures, the government sector recorded the largest job growth with an estimated increase of 700 jobs. Martinez said the growth can be attributed to local school districts hiring seasonal workers for the school year. While showing a gain for the month, the government sector is down about 800 jobs from the year-ago estimate.

Other sectors showing job growth for the month were: Farm (200); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (100); Professional and Business Services (100); and Educational and Health Services (200).

Manufacturing lost an estimated 100 jobs between August and September, but is up about 2,200 jobs from the year-ago estimate. Leisure and Hospitality saw a job loss for the month of about 200, which is typical for the end of summer, Martinez said. On the whole, the sector has grown by about 100 positions for the year-ago estimate.

Other sectors recording job gains over the year were: Professional and Business Services (500) and Educational and Health Services (100).

Sectors showing a loss for the year are: Mining, Logging and Construction (500); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (600); Information (100); Financial Activities (100); Government (800) and Other Services (300).

The farming sector was down from the year-ago estimate by 500, but Martinez said it wasn’t a great cause for concern because the rate is historically rising and falling, depending on the harvests.

“It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of next month given the late spring we had and the warm fall,” Martinez said.

Statewide, the unemployment rate was at 11.9 percent, down from 12.1 percent in August and down from 12.5 percent a year ago.

The unemployment rate in the nation was 9.1 percent for September, according to the EDD.

In Turlock, the unemployment rate dropped to 11.5 percent from 12.2 percent in August. Out of all the cities and census designated places in Stanislaus County, Turlock had the fourth lowest unemployment rate. Denair had the second lowest unemployment rate at 8.3 percent, down from 8.8 percent in August. East Oakdale had the lowest rate in Stanislaus County at 6.4 percent for September.

Hughson’s rate fell from 20.7 percent in August to 19.6 percent in September. Keyes’ rate dropped to 26.2 percent in September from 27.5 percent.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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