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More people looking for work in county
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February’s unemployment rate in Stanislaus County was up from the month prior, but well below the year-ago estimate, according to the latest figures from the Economic Development Department.

Stanislaus County’s unemployment rate in February was at 17.1 percent, up from a revised rate of 16.8 percent in January and below the year-ago estimate of 18.2 percent.

The increase from the month prior was largely due to a larger number of people reporting they were actively looking for work, as opposed to lost jobs.

The labor force in Stanislaus County grew by an estimated 2,000 people, according to the EDD. Among them, 1,100 individuals reported they were employed and 900 said they were unemployed.

An estimated 40,400 people were unemployed in Stanislaus County in February.

Only one sector reported a loss of jobs between January and February. All others reported gains or were flat for the month.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector reported an estimated 100 lost jobs for the month. Most of those losses were from clothing and accessories stores and general merchandise stores.

Educational and health services showed the largest job growth, with an estimated 400 positions added. All those positions were in health care, according to the EDD figures.

The government sector also added an estimated 300 positions, all reportedly at the county and city levels.

The county’s unemployment rate, while still high, is showing some improvement. During the same time frame in 2010 it reached a high mark of 19.1 percent and last year it came in at 18.1 percent.

Merced County’s unemployment rate grew to 20 percent in February, up from 19.5 percent. San Joaquin County posted a steady rate of 16.6 percent for the second month in a row.

California’s unemployment rate was at 11.4 percent and the nation’s was at 8.7 percent during the same time period.

The increase in Stanislaus County’s unemployment rate was largely evenly distributed among the county’s cities. Turlock’s rate grew to 13.1 percent, up from 12.9 percent. Denair went from 9.4 percent in January to 9.5 percent in February. Hughson’s rate increased to 22 percent, up from 21.8 percent and Keyes’ rate came in at 29.1 percent, up from 28.8 percent.