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Unemployment falls in county
February rate at level typically seen in summer
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The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County made significant improvement in February as more people were able to join the area’s workforce, according to the latest report from the Employment Development Department.

February’s unadjusted unemployment rate in Stanislaus County came in at 14.9 percent, which is a dip from the revised 15.6 percent unemployment rate reported for January and the year-ago estimate of 16.8 percent.

It has been several years since Stanislaus County had a February unemployment rate below 15 percent. In 2012 the first time the county had an unemployment rate below 15 percent was in August, when agricultural jobs are at a peak.

“It’s a substantial difference from what we had just last year,” said EDD Labor Market Analyst Natividad Martinez.

Stanislaus County’s labor force fell by an estimated 500 workers in February, but the number of employed grew by an estimated 1,100 people and the unemployed dropped an estimated 1,600 people, according to the EDD’s report. For the year-over the number of unemployed in the county has decreased an estimated 12 percent, Martinez said.

Manufacturing, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, government, and professional and business services all recorded job growth for February. The retail and construction sectors shed jobs in February, but both were up in hiring for the year-over.

“There are lots of seasonal things than can affect the month, but the year-over numbers show a positive growth,” Martinez said.

In Merced County the unemployment rate fell to 17.8 percent in February, down from 18.4 percent in January. San Joaquin County’s unemployment rate dropped from 15.5 percent to 14.7 percent in February.

California’s unemployment rate decreased to 9.6 percent to and the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in the same time period.

From February 2012 to February 2013, the number of unemployed in California has dropped an estimated 209,000, according to the EDD.

In Turlock the unemployment rate decreased to 11.3 percent from 11.9 percent the month before. Denair’s rate fell from 8.6 percent in January to 8.2 percent in February. Hughson’s rate went from 20.2 percent in January to 19.3 percent in February. Keyes had an unemployment rate of 25.9 percent, down from 26.9 percent. Ceres had an unemployment rate of 18.5 percent in February, down from 19.3 percent in January.

According to EDD data, the Stanislaus County employers posting the most help wanted ads for January were: E. & J. Gallo Winery – 192; Sutter Health – 75; Ceres Unified School District — 65; Kaiser Permanente – 53; Tenet Health — 51; CVS Caremark – 38; Supplemental Health Care – 37; AT&T – 37; Soliant — 36; and Edward Jones — 35.