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County sees new low in unemployment
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Funding shortfall affects EDD phone service

The California Employment Development Department will only be answering calls from unemployed workers from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, beginning Monday.
The shortened telephone service is a result of a $158 million shortfall in federal funds for the department. Previously the department answered calls from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"We are very concerned about the impact of the federal funding shortfall on our staffing levels, and are working very hard to mitigate the effects on services," said EDD Director Pam Harris. "We urge our customers to use self-help options whenever possible so our limited staff can be available to help those with more complex needs."
Self-help alternatives available for claimants:
• eApply4UI to file a new claim or reopen a claim for benefits online.
• EDD Web-Cert or EDD Tele-Cert for certifying for benefits every two weeks instead of relying on paper forms through the mail.
Both options can be accessed through the EDD's website at

The ranks of unemployed people in Stanislaus County continue to dwindle as the area recorded a new low in the unemployment rate.
Stanislaus County's unadjusted seasonal unemployment rate for April was at 13.4 percent the Employment Development Department reported. The rate was down from a revised rate of 14.5 percent in March and below the year-ago estimate of 15.8 percent. The latest numbers represent the lowest rate recorded for April since 2008. April saw its highest rate in 2010 at 17.6 percent.
"The rate looks really good when we compare other Aprils," said EDD Labor Market Analyst Natividad Martinez. "It's definitely going in the right direction."
A positive number for April could mean good news for the area if the numbers continue to drop. Typically, Stanislaus County sees the lowest unemployment rates in May, June, and July when the farming sector picks up, Martinez said.
The unemployment rate in Merced County fell from 17.2 percent in March to 15.5 percent in April and San Joaquin County recorded an unemployment rate of 12.9 percent in April, down from 14.1 percent in March.
California's unemployment rate fell to 9 percent in April and the nation's was at 7.5 percent for the same time period.
In Stanislaus County the sector recording the largest job growth for April was in the Leisure and Hospitality sector, which had an estimated job growth of 300 positions, according to the EDD.
For the year-over, the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector has been leading the area's job growth, with an estimated 1,300 new jobs, the EDD reported.
"The bulk of the growth is coming from that sector," Martinez said. "It has been the top for growth since the start of the year."
Most of the jobs coming from that sector have been in clothing and general merchandise stores.
Stanislaus County had an estimated 31,600 people unemployed in April, down from the approximate 34,500 recorded in March.
Turlock had an unemployment rate of 10.2 percent in April, representing about 2,900 unemployed people. The rate was down from the 11.1 percent posted in March. Denair had an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent in April, a drop from March's rate of 8 percent. Hughson's unemployment rate fell from 19 percent in March to 17.5 percent in April. Keyes' April unemployment rate came in at 23.6 percent, down from the 25.4 percent rate the month before. Ceres had an unemployment rate of 16.7 percent for April, a decrease from March's 18.1 percent rate.