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More county residents out of work

4,000 jobs lost in December, January

POSTED March 4, 2011 10:15 p.m.

The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County continued its steady climb upward as the latest figures from the Economic Development Department indicate nearly 1 in 5 people in the county is among the ranks of the unemployed.

The unadjusted seasonal unemployment rate in Stanislaus County was 18.2 percent for January, up from the revised rate of 17.5 percent in December. Neighboring counties also recorded increases for the month, with Merced County reaching an unemployment rate of 21.2 percent and San Joaquin County’s unemployment rate hitting 18.5 percent.

Stanislaus County’s unemployment rate for January is significantly higher than the California rate of 12.5 percent and just under double the national rate of 9.8 percent.

“It’s a big, big difference,” said Natividad Martinez, an EDD labor market analyst for San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.

The number of unemployed in Stanislaus County for January was estimated at 43,200, according to the EDD.

A factor in the area’s high unemployment rate is the reliance on farming and manufacturing jobs, which historically record low levels of employment during the winter season, Martinez said.

“The patterns we’ve see in the past shows the unemployment rate starts to go up in October and usually is at its highest in January, February and March,” Martinez said. “It tends to start going back down again in April and hits its low points in June, July and August.”

The cycle of high and lower rates is directly tied in to the harvest seasons of the Central Valley’s multitude of crops.

Within all industries in Stanislaus County there were an estimated 4,000 jobs lost between December and January. Farming-related jobs took a big hit with 1,000 lost jobs, but the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which includes retail, recorded the largest losses at 1,400. Of the decrease, 85 percent was attributed to job losses in retail, Martinez said.

The only industry to not post a job loss in Stanislaus County in January was the information sector, which had zero change.

The year over numbers did see some improvements. The manufacturing, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and farming sectors all recorded job growth between January 2010 and January 2011.

Out of the 18 cities and census designated communities, Turlock had one of the lower unemployment rates for January at 14 percent, which is up from the 13 percent recorded in December. Denair had a low unemployment rate of 10.2 percent, while Hughson and Keyes both had higher rates at 23.3 percent and 30.7 percent, respectively.

The neighborhoods in Modesto that make up the Shackelford district had the highest unemployment rate in the county at 48.7 percent and East Oakdale had the lowest at 7.9 percent.

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

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