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Unemployment remains high in Valley

County gains 500 jobs in February

POSTED March 25, 2011 9:51 p.m.

The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County remained unchanged for the month of February, but more employers are looking for workers according to new data from the Economic Development Department.

The county’s unemployment rate was at an unadjusted rate of 18.1 percent for February, the same as the revised rate for January. Out of an estimated labor force of 237,100 in Stanislaus County, an approximate 42,900 are unemployed, according to the EDD.

In Merced County the unemployment rate grew just marginally over the month from 21.2 percent to 21.3 percent. San Joaquin County’s unemployment rate saw an improvement falling from 18.5 percent in January to 17.6 percent in February.

California’s unemployment rate was at 12.3 percent and the nation’s was at 9.5 percent.

The 18.1 percent for Stanislaus County was below the year-ago estimate of 18.9 percent, indicating some improvement in the local job market.

Another indicator the local labor market is improving is the number of help wanted advertisements being placed online. The Help Wanted Online Data Series measures the monthly demand for labor by tracking total and new online advertisements. The data shows that the San Joaquin region saw the second largest increase in job advertisements, at 19 percent, out of all of California’s regions between January and February. However, the region did have the smallest increase in job advertisements for the year at 9 percent, out of the state’s six regions.

The San Joaquin region also had the highest supply/demand rates in California with 13 individuals for every one advertised vacancy.

According to the help wanted data, every region in California experienced a year-over increase in job advertisements from February 2010 to February 2011 and all the regions saw in increase in the month-over data.

Nationally, the West was the only region to show a gain for the month, with an increase of 2,400 advertised vacancies for a total of 1,007,500 advertisements. California was the largest contributor with an increase of 6,400 for the month, for a total of 508,000 in February.

Two sectors in Stanislaus County saw month-over job losses, while six posted gains and three remained unchanged. Within all industries in Stanislaus County there was a reported collective job gain of 500, which is a significant improvement from January when the area posted a collective job loss of 4,000, according to the EDD. A majority of the losses were attributed to the end of the seasonal hirings in the retail industry.

The farming sector lost an approximate 100 jobs for the month. The trade, transportation and utilities sector, which includes retail, posted a job loss of 300.

The government sector had a gain of 300 jobs, followed by education and health services at 200. Manufacturing, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and other services all posted job gains of 100 each. The sectors of mining, logging and construction, financial activities and information services remained unchanged.

The unemployment rate in Turlock improved by just the slightest of margins from 14 percent to 13.9 percent in February. Denair was at 10.1 percent, down from 10.2 percent and Hughson dropped from 23.3 percent to 23.2 percent. Keyes saw an increase in their unemployment rate from 23.3 percent to 30.6 percent.

The neighborhoods in Modesto that make up the Shackelford district had the highest unemployment rate in the county at 48.5 percent and East Oakdale had the lowest at 7.8 percent.

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

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