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Unemployment rate drops, but not reflective of latest closures

More than 35,000 people found themselves unemployed in Stanislaus County during the month of June, according to the latest numbers from the Employment Development Department.

Stanislaus County's unemployment saw some improvement in June, but remains far higher than the rate recorded prior to the start of the closures because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The unemployment rate in June came in at 15 percent, below the revised rate of 16.2 percent for May, and more than double the year-ago rate of 6.3 percent, according to the EDD.

These rates do not reflect the business closures instituted in early July and the impact that will have on the county's unemployment rate.

Several sectors were able to add jobs in June, but every sector is down in jobs from the same time last year.

The two sectors that posted job losses for the month of June were Farming, which was down by an estimated 1,300 positions from the month prior, and Government, which was down by approximately 2,100 positions for the month, according to the EDD.

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Farming is down by an estimated 2,700 jobs from the same time last year, while Government is down by about 3,600 positions. Job losses within the state government accounted for 40.9 percent of the year's decline, while losses at the local government level accounted for 9.7 percent.

The Leisure and Hospitality sector has taken a large hit during the coronavirus pandemic. In the month of June, the sector added an estimated 3,900 jobs in the county, but for the year, is down by approximately 5,000 positions. It's likely the return of closures to businesses in this sector in July has eroded some, if not all the gains made in June.

The Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector, which includes retail, added approximately 1,400 positions in June, but are down by about 4,700 jobs from the same time last year, the EDD reported. Most of that decline is within retail, with clothing and clothing accessories stores accounting for 50 percent of the losses for the year.

The Professional and Business Services sector added 1,100 jobs in June. The sector is down by an estimated 1,700 positions for the year.

Other sectors that added jobs in June but are down for the year were: Manufacturing, which added 800 for the month but is down by 400 for the year; Mining, Logging and Construction, which added 900 jobs but is down by about 1,000 positions; Financial Activities added 100 jobs for the month, but is down by about 100 jobs for the year; Educational and Health Services added 600 jobs, but is down approximately 1,600 positions for the year; and other services, which added 200 jobs in June, but is down by 1,200 for the year, according to the EDD data.

The only sector that did not add jobs in June was the Information sector, which stayed flat for the month and is down by an estimated 100 positions for the year.

In Stanislaus County, the labor force for June was an estimated 235,800, with 200,400 employed and 35,400 unemployed.

Merced County had an unemployment rate of 15.7 percent in June. San Joaquin County had a June unemployment rate of 15.9 percent.

California had an unemployment rate of 14.9 percent in June, while the nation's was at 11.2 percent for the same time period.

In related data that figures into the state’s unemployment rate, there were 2,778,771 people certifying for Unemployment Insurance benefits during the June 2020 sample week. That compares to 2,154,692 people in May 2020 and 307,704 people in June 2019. Concurrently, 284,300 initial claims were processed in the June 2020 sample week, which was a month-over increase of 80,712 claims from May 2020 and a year-over increase of 239,732 claims from June 2019.

Acting Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), Chris Dombrowski and California’s Labor Secretary Julie A. Su issued a statement on the need for the public's adherence to safety guidelines like wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings for any kind of sustainable economic recovery.

“The unemployment rate for June decreased slightly to 14.9 percent as California began modifying its Stay at Home order and 558,200 jobs were added to the economy. In the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic, it is crucial that we remember that every Californian has a role to play as we work to safely recover. Our individual actions impact our collective future which is why wearing a face covering, washing hands, staying home when possible, and adhering to state and local guidance will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure we can once again regrow our economy.”