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No rise — or fall — in county unemployment

POSTED November 18, 2011 6:08 p.m.

Stanislaus County’s unemployment rate stayed steady for a second month, though only one sector saw job growth in October, according to the Economic Development Department’s latest employment statistics.

The unemployment rate in October was 15.2 percent in Stanislaus County, up just slightly from September’s revised rate of 15 percent and below the year-ago estimate of 16.1 percent.

The county’s labor force fell from 238,400 in September to 237,300 in October. Included in that number are people who have stopped looking for work in the area, like students who have returned to school and migrant farm workers who have moved on to other harvests.

An approximate 36,000 people were unemployed in October in Stanislaus County.

The unemployment rate in Merced County was at 15.8 percent in October, down from 16 percent in September. San Joaquin County had an unemployment rate of 15.7 percent in October, up from 15.4 percent in September.

California’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 11.7 percent in October, down by 0.2 percentage point from September’s rate and down 0.8 percentage point from a year-ago, according to the EDD.

The nation’s unemployment rate was at 9 percent in October, the EDD reported.

The only sector to see job growth in October in Stanislaus County was Educational and Health Services, which added an approximate 100 positions. The increase was solely in health care and social services, according to the EDD’s data.

Sectors that stayed flat for the month were: Information; Financial Activity; Professional and Business Services; Other Services; and Government. For the year-over, the Professional and Business Services sector was the only one of the five to show job growth; all others reported job losses for the year over, with government leading the pack at an estimated 500 positions lost, according to the EDD’s figures.

Hiring in government at the local level is down 2.7 percent for the year-over. County government posted the highest loss in that sub-category with an 8.3 percent drop.

The sector with the biggest loss in Stanislaus County for October was Manufacturing, which dropped an estimated 600 positions. However, many of those positions were seasonal and tied to the area’s harvest season. Overall, Manufacturing has added an approximate 3,400 jobs from October 2010 to 2011.

The sector that continues to take deep hits in Stanislaus County is Trade, Transportation, and Utilities, which includes retail. For the month it was down 100 positions and for the year it has lost 900 jobs, according to the EDD.

Retail hiring is down 4.1 percent for the year with most losses coming from general merchandise stores, the EDD reported.

The county’s steady rate was reflected locally as well. Turlock’s unemployment rate was at 11.6 percent in October, up from 11.5 percent. Denair was at 8.4 percent, up from 8.3 percent. Hughson was at 19.7 percent, up from 19.6 percent and Keyes was at 26.3 percent, up from 26.2 percent.

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

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