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November brings significant unemployment increases in Stanislaus, Merced

Stanislaus and Merced counties each saw their unemployment rates spike during the month of November, according to new data provided by the California Employment Development Department.

In Stanislaus County, the rate rose from an even 5 percent in October to 5.5 percent. In Merced County, the rate rose by an entire percentage from 6.2 percent in October to 7.2 percent.

The local statistics mirror employment trends throughout California, as the state unemployment increased from 3.8 percent to 4.0 percent in November.

The unemployment spikes in both counties are largely due to the loss of farming jobs, as the harvesting season for several crops came to an end. In Stanislaus County, there were 900 farming jobs lost, while Merced County lost a whopping 2,600 jobs in the industry.

There was also significant job loss in the food manufacturing sector, as there were 300 of those jobs lost in Stanislaus County and 500 in Merced County.

The lack of hiring was also a major factor in last month’s rate increases, particularly in Stanislaus County, where the largest growing sector was the health care sector with only 400 new hires. There was a bit more success within the state and local government sector in Merced County, as there was an increase of 800 jobs.

Heading into December, the city in the Turlock Journal’s coverage area with the highest unemployment numbers was Turlock with a 4.5 percent rate translating to 1,500 unemployed individuals. A couple miles north in Ceres, there are similar numbers with 1,400 individuals without work. The next highest rate was found in Delhi, which reported 500 unemployed individuals for a 8.4 percent rate. Nearby, Livingston reported 400 unemployed individuals. Meanwhile in Denair, there was 200 unemployed for an 8.1 percentage fate. Hilmar, Hughson and Keyes all kept rates low with unemployed hovering around the 100 mark.

Despite minimal hiring in November, the EDD reports that there are still a number of vacancies in several industries, not including the farming sector. There are currently over 2,000 health care and social assistance openings in Stanislaus County and nearly 450 in Merced County. And though the holiday season is winding down, there are still over 950 retail job openings in Stanislaus County and 300 in Merced County.

As the local and state economies hope to improve in the consumer-heavy December, so will the nationwide job markets, as the United States remained stagnant at a 3.4 percent.