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Local unemployment rates dip for second straight month

Unemployment rates in Stanislaus and Merced counties dropped in the month of August, according to preliminary data provided by the State of California’s Employment Development Department. It marks the second straight month — and the only two months of the year — in which the rates for each county fell.

According to the ADD, Stanislaus County had an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent in August, compared to 6.6 percent in July. There were approximately 15,700 people in the county without work. Over in Merced County, the rate in August was 8.6 percent, compared to a 8.9 percent rate in July. There were roughly 10,000 folks without work in the county.

California’s unemployment rate as a whole was 5.1 percent, while the nation had a 3.9 percent rate during the month.

In terms of specific cities in each of the local counties, Turlock posted a 5.5 percent rate in August, translating to about 1,800 people unemployed. Hughson’s 9.2 percent rate during the month represented about 300 people without work. Denair, Hilmar and Keyes each had around 100 folks without a job in August.

A boom in the farming and manufacturing industries played the biggest role in Stanislaus County’s slight improvement. There were over 1,000 farming jobs and about 900 manufacturing positions filled during the month.

The manufacturing industry also helped Merced County rebound, as 400 jobs were added. Nevertheless, the largest growing sector in the county was local government, which saw approximately 1,300 jobs added.

For those on the market for a job, the EDD reports that the industry in most demand of workers across the two counties remains health care and social assistance with 1,889 online job postings. There is a high demand for registered nurses, in particular, with 991 postings currently listed.

The other biggest hirer right now is the retail industry, which has over 900 openings in Stanislaus County. In Merced County, the industry with the most openings is private education, with 573 active listings.