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County labor market shows improvement

County labor market shows improvement


POSTED September 18, 2009 11:12 p.m.
The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County took a modest dip for the month of August while the state saw another gain, according to the latest numbers from the Economic Development Department.
The unemployment rate fell to 15.8 percent for the month of August, a drop from July’s rate of 16.5 percent, the EDD reported.
August was the first month this year that Stanislaus County’s unemployment rate has been below 16 percent. The county reached a new benchmark for unemployment in March when it hit 17.5 percent.
Liz Baker, a labor market analyst for EDD, said the county typically sees a boost in employment during this time of year because of an increase in agricultural activity.
Despite the slight drop, Stanislaus County continues to see some of the highest unemployment rates in the state. It was ranked 54th out of 58 counties for unemployment rates, according to the EDD’s latest numbers.
Merced County was 56th with an unemployment rate of 16.7 percent and San Joaquin County was 52nd with an unemployment rate of 15.7 percent. Yuba County has the state’s worst unemployment rate at 17.5 percent for August, according to the EDD.
The number of jobs lost in the state for August did decline from July, but the unemployment rate continued to climb for the month, according to the EDD.
The unemployment reached 12.2 percent in August, up 0.3 percentage points from July. The unemployment rate in the state is up 4.6 percent from last year, according to the EDD.
Within non-farm industries, three sectors saw month-over job gains, and eight sectors saw month-over job declines. Sectors with increased employment were: Educational and health services (6,000); information (3,400); and government (2,000). Sectors that lost jobs in August, in order of job loss, were: Trade, transportation and utilities (7,100); Construction (7,000); Other services (2,900); Manufacturing (2,800); Leisure and hospitality (2,000); Financial activities (1,000); Professional and business services (700); and Natural resources and mining (200).
A statement released Friday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said: “The latest unemployment numbers reinforce the importance of combining federal, state and local efforts to put Californians back to work and to help all those struggling in this difficult economy. Immediately addressing our challenges, which include reforming the state’s antiquated tax structure and updating our water delivery system will move the state forward and build a stronger, more diverse economy. While I am pleased to see fewer jobs lost, my administration will not rest until job growth resumes and employment returns to normal.”
Locally, Turlock saw a slight improvement in the unemployment rate, dropping to 12 percent for the month. The 12 percent represents 3,600 unemployed people in the city.
The Shackelford and Bystrom areas of Modesto had the highest unemployment rate for Stanislaus County with 42.5 percent and 33.8 percent, respectively.
East Oakdale and Denair had the lowest with 5.8 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively.
To contact Sabra Stafford e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.
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