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County’s unemployment rate shows improvement

Increase in farm jobs boost labor numbers

POSTED June 15, 2012 6:29 p.m.

The ranks of the employed in Stanislaus County grew in May thanks in part to a swell of hiring at the area’s farms, dairies and ranches.

Stanislaus County’s unemployment rate in May fell to 15.6 percent, down from a revised rate of 16.3 percent in April, according to the latest report from California’s Economic Development Department.

May’s total also was below the year-ago estimate of 16.8 percent.

A number of the new hirings were in the farming sector, which saw an increase of 2,700 jobs in May, according to the EDD. Historically, Stanislaus County sees an improvement in the job market during the harvest season from April to October.

In Merced County, the unemployment rate dropped to 17.3 percent in May, down from 18.8 percent in April. San Joaquin County’s unemployment rate fell to 14.5 percent for May, down from 15.4 percent.

California’s unemployment rate decreased to 10.8 percent, down from 10.5 percent in April. The U.S. unemployment rate for the same time period was at 8.2 percent.

The EDD’s report on wage and salary jobs in the nonfarm industries of California totaled 14,276,400 in May, a net gain of 33,900 jobs since the April survey. This followed a gain of 1,300 jobs in April.

In related data, the EDD reported that there were 515,434 people receiving regular unemployment insurance benefits during the May survey week. This compares with 552,163 last month and 553,041 last year. At the same time, new claims for unemployment insurance were 57,545 in May 2012, compared with 63,212 in April and 65,115 in May of last year.

For the first time this year, there was only one sector in Stanislaus County that recorded a loss of jobs. All other sectors either reported job growth or were flat for the month. Manufacturing led the sectors in job growth, with 600 new positions for an increase of 3.2 percent in May, according to the EDD. Following manufacturing was the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 300 new jobs in May.

Other sectors showing job increases in May were: Construction at 200 jobs added; Trade, Transportation and Utilities with 200 new positions; Education and Health Services added 200 jobs; Professional and Business Services, as well as other services added 100 new jobs each.

The financial and information sectors were both flat for job growth in May, the EDD reported.

Government was the sole sector to post a job loss for the month, with 300 fewer positions. All of those positions came from school districts in the county, according to the EDD.

Stanislaus County’s job growth was met with a mixed bag of news. On the plus side, the Stanislaus County Alliance Worknet’s StanTogether campaign to add 1,000 new jobs by July 31, met its goal early with 1,025 new positions as of June.

On the negative side, the CVS Pharmacy distribution center in Patterson announced Thursday it would be laying off up to 115 employees over the next 60 to 90 days.

The unemployment rate in Turlock came in at 11.9 percent for May, a decrease from the 12.5 percent recorded in April. Denair dropped from 9.1 percent to 8.6 percent. Hughson’s rate fell to 20.2 percent in May from 21.2 percent in April. Keyes came in with a rate of 26.9 percent, down from 28.1 percent.

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