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Unemployment continues to rise
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Stanislaus County Unemployment Rates
• January, 18.9 percent
• December 2009, 17.3 percent
• November 2009, 17.5 percent
• October 2009, 16.6 percent
• September 2009, 15.3 percent
The job sector numbers for the new year got off to a grim start with Stanislaus County recording their highest level of unemployment in 16 years, according to the latest data from the Economic Development Department.
The unemployment level for January shot up to 18.9 percent, representing 44,600 people out of work in Stanislaus County. The latest numbers from the EDD reflect a steady increase in unemployment the county has been experiencing over the last year. The lowest unemployment levels the county recorded were from May to September, when hiring in the farming sector increased. Even then, the county’s unemployment level never got lower than 15 percent.
January’s number is up from a revised 17.3 percent in December 2009, and above the year-ago estimate of 15.4 percent. The last time the unemployment level was so high was in February 1994, when it reached 19.1 percent.
The unemployment news was just as unsettling in neighboring counties. Merced County recorded a new milestone at 21.7 percent, up from 19.8 percent in December. San Joaquin County saw an unemployment level of 18.4 percent, up from 17.1 percent.
Nanette Potter, a labor market analyst for EDD, said it was typical for the San Joaquin Valley to experience higher numbers of unemployment during the winter months and that hirings tend to increase as the weather gets warmer and crops get closer to harvesting.
California saw unemployment reach 12.5 percent for January, a new record for the month. Nationally, the unemployment rate is 9.7 percent.
Within Stanislaus County, areas in west and south Modesto saw the highest levels of unemployment, with the Shackelford district recording the worst at 49.8 percent.
East Oakdale had the lowest rate at 8.2 percent. Turlock recorded a 14.5 percent unemployment for January.
Almost every sector in the county saw job losses in January from the month prior, with retail and farming taking the biggest hits. About 1,100 jobs were lost in trade, transportation, and utilities and 1,000 in farming, according to the EDD. Information, financial services, and other services were the only sectors to not record losses for the month, staying flat. No industry recorded job growth in January in the county.
The Labor Market Information division of the EDD is currently working on the benchmark unemployment numbers for 2009, which generates a hard and fast figure, as compared to monthly estimates based on statistical data. A benchmark is an annual revision that is based on employer tax records. Revised data will be released through March and April.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.