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Unemployment rates continue to drop
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The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County took a welcome dip in May, continuing a steady decline since the year began.

The latest figures from the Economic Development Department show Stanislaus County’s unemployment rate fell to 16.7 percent in May, down from the revised 17.4 percent rate in April. The rate is also below the year-ago estimate of 17.3 percent, the EDD reported.

Merced County saw a significant drop from 19.5 percent in April to 17.8 percent in May and San Joaquin dropped to 16.2 percent in May, down from 17.3 percent in April.

California’s unemployment rate was at 11.7 percent in May, down from 11.9 percent in April and down 0.7 percentage point from one year ago. The nation’s unemployment rate in May was 9.1 percent.

The decrease in the unemployment rate was tempered by the news that less people were actively seeking employment. According to the EDD, the labor force in the state dropped by more than 97,000 people between April and May. People who are not seeking employment are not counted in the labor force.

The EDD reported that there were 553,041 people receiving regular unemployment benefits during the may survey week. This compares with 584,141 last month and 675,201 last year. At the same time, new claims for unemployment insurance were 65,115 in May 2011, compared with 63,739 in April and 70,439 in May of last year.

All total, the state lost 29,200 jobs from the month over, according to the EDD.

Stanislaus County recorded an increase of 600 jobs between April and May, with the largest increases coming from farm-related industries and manufacturing. The construction and trade industries, which include retail, had the largest declines in employment.

The nation saw an increase in online advertised vacancies for May, in comparison to April. Nationally, there were 4,471,200 seasonally adjusted advertised vacancies for May, an increase of 148,800 from April. There were 482,400 advertisements reported for California for May. Every region in California experienced year-over and month-over increases in job advertisements.

The San Joaquin Valley region had the greatest year-over increase at 35 percent, in job advertisements of all the regions. The region also experienced a month-over increase in job orders of 3 percent from April to May.

Turlock’s unemployment rate fell to 12.8 percent in May, down from 13.4 percent in April. Denair’s rate dropped to 9.3 percent for May, down from 9.7 percent in April. Hughson recorded a decline from 22.5 percent in April to 21.5 percent in May and Keyes dipped to 28.6 percent in May, down from 29.7 in April.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.