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Employment on the rise, finally
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The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County took a dip downward with numerous sectors posting job gains in April, according to the latest figures from the Economic Development Department.

Stanislaus County recorded an unadjusted seasonal unemployment rate of 17.5 percent for April, down from the revised rate of 18.3 percent in March and below the year-ago estimate of 18 percent.

“It’s a good drop,” said EDD Labor Market Analyst Nati Martinez. “overall, there is definite growth from a year ago.”

Neighboring counties also saw decreases for the month. Merced County went from 21.4 percent in March to 19.5 percent in April and San Joaquin County dropped to 17.3 percent after posting a rate of 18.4 percent in March.

The unemployment rate in California fell slightly to 11.9 percent in April, from a 12 percent rate in March. Nationally, the unemployment rate grew to 9 percent in April.

Locally, farming-related industries saw the largest increase in hiring, with an approximate 300 new jobs, the EDD reported. It was followed by the leisure and hospitality sector, which saw a gain of about 200 jobs.

Other industries faring well in April in Stanislaus County were: Mining, Logging and Construction; Manufacturing; Trade, Transportation and Utilities; Education and Health; and Government. The only sector in Stanislaus County to post a loss of jobs in April was Professional and Business Services.

Stanislaus County saw an approximate 2,500 people leave the ranks of the unemployed and join the labor force, according to the EDD. An estimated 41,000 people remain unemployed in Stanislaus County.

In Turlock the unemployment rate dropped from 14.2 percent in March to 13.4 percent in April, giving it the fourth lowest unemployment rate in the county. Denair had the second best rate after posting a 9.7 rate in April, down from 10.3 percent in March. Hughson’s unemployment rate went from 23.7 percent in March to 22.5 percent in April and Keyes fell from 31.1 percent in March to 29.7 in April.

A federal survey of households shows an increase of 37,000 for the number of Californians holding jobs in April, but down 21,000 from the employment total in April of last year.

In related data, the EDD reported that there were 584,141 people receiving regular unemployment insurance benefits during the April survey week. This compares with 630,829 last month and 729,211 last year. At the same time, new claims for unemployment insurance were 63,739 in April 2011, compared with 61,076 in March and 83,896 in April of last year.

In the first quarter of the year, California companies reported less mass job layoffs than they did during the same time period last year. Between January to March there were 394 mass layoff events, which was 134 less than last year when the number was 528.

California's total number of 394 mass layoff events represented 28 percent of the nation's 1,393 reported layoff events and the 58,562 separations accounted for 31 percent of the nation's 190,389 reported job separations. The most notable job losses occurred in the administrative and waste services, construction and manufacturing industries.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.