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County records slight dip in unemployment

POSTED June 27, 2009 4:53 p.m.
For the second straight month the unemployment numbers in Stanislaus County made a small decline.
The latest figures from the Economic Development Department listed Stanislaus County’s unemployment rate for the month of May at 16.4 percent, down from 16.8 percent in April. Since March, when the county saw a record 17.5 percent unemployment rate, the levels have been making a steady, albeit, slight decline.
Merced and San Joaquin counties both also recorded drops in May. Merced County went from 18.3 percent in April to 17.3 percent in May and San Joaquin went from 15.6 percent in April to 15.3 percent in May.
The decreases are in large part attributed to the agricultural industry, which typically increases hiring in the Central Valley during the harvest season, according to labor market analyst Liz Baker.
On average, the counties in the San Joaquin Valley see about an eight-tenth percentage drop in the unemployment rates during the busy harvest months beginning in April and extending through the summer, Baker said.
The total number of farm-based jobs added in Stanislaus County for the month of May was 2,900, according to the EDD.
Even with the decrease, Stanislaus County is still dealing with some of the highest levels of unemployment recorded in decades. Last year the unemployment rate for the county in May was 10.5 percent.
While several counties up and down the state saw modest declines, California’s unemployment rate as a whole rose to 11.5 percent in May, up for 10.9 percent in April.
In California, the sectors that recorded the most job loses were: Government with 14,200 jobs lost; construction, with 11,300 lost jobs; and professional and business services lost 10,900 jobs.
Turlock recorded a small decline in May with an unemployment rate of 12.4 percent. April’s rate was 12.9 percent.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.
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