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North Bay Business Journal

Friday, December 17, 2010, 1:02 pm

North Bay jobless rates rise in November

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    NORTH BAY — Unemployment rates in North Bay counties rose 50 to 130 basis points in November from a year before, but the jobless rates in Marin and Sonoma counties remained unchanged at high levels, according to state figures released this morning.

    The end of the North Coast winegrape harvest, which stretched into November in some areas, were big drivers in month-to-month jobless rate jumps in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties.

    Sonoma County rate remains unchanged, with health care and services offsetting cuts in construction and government

    The unemployment rate in the Sonoma County last month was 10.1 percent, unchanged from a year ago, according to the Employment Development Department.

    The rate moved up 30 basis points from an adjusted 9.7 percent in October. That was led by 1,500 fewer farm jobs and 400 fewer in production of nondurable goods such as wine, following the late winegrape harvest. Offsetting that were continued staffing up as the school year began and retail hiring for the big holiday selling season, with 400 more in retail trade. The retail sector had slight declines in hiring compared with November 2009.

    Over the 12-month period ending last month, the county had a net loss of 600 jobs. The industries with the largest year-over-year net losses continued to be construction and government, with 800 each. The biggest job gains came in health care, with 800 net new jobs, or 4.4 percent annual growth, and professional and business services, with 300 net additional positions, or 1.6 percent growth.

    Sonoma County‘s proportion of jobless workers improved compared with other counties in the state. The county’s ranking moved to ninth-best from 10th-best in October, beating San Diego County’s 10.3 percent.

    Solano County rate increases 40 basis points, yet improves by three places in state ranking

    Solano County‘s unemployment rate was 12.1 percent last month, an increase of 40 basis points from a revised 11.6 percent in October and 11.6 percent the previous November.

    Though the jobless rate for the county rose last month, the rate moved to 20th-lowest in the state from No. 23 in October.

    Marin County continues to have best employment rate California

    Marin County last month continued to have the best jobless rate in the state, though still high at 8.2 percent. That was unchanged from a year ago but down from the peak of 9.0 percent in January, with 1,000 more residents employed last month than at the beginning of this year.

    Marin employment peaked in December 2000 during the dot-com and stock boom at 140,500 positions and 2.4 percent unemployment. Last month, 119,600 were employed in the county, according to state figures.

    Industry-specific data are not available for the county.

    Napa County rate climbs despite robust October restaurant and hotel business

    Napa County‘s jobless rate last month slipped to eighth-best in the state from fourth-best in October. The November rate was 10.0 percent, up 220 basis points from a revised rate of 8.8 percent a month before. The jobless rate last month also was 50 basis points higher than a year before.

    Like Sonoma County, Napa County’s late winegrape harvest led to a drop in 1,500 farm jobs from October to November and 400 fewer in wine production.

    Yet contrary to reports from some Napa hoteliers and restaurants of a big increase in business in October, the state figures showed300 fewer foodservice jobs and 200 fewer accommodation jobs in the county last month compared with October.

    Year over year, Napa County had 1,600 fewer jobs in November, a 2.5 percent decrease. Also like Sonoma County, the construction industry led net annual job losses, with 1,000 fewer positions, a decrease of 35.7 percent. Also wholesale trade had 200 fewer jobs, a decrease of 13.3 percent, and retail, 300 fewer, a 5.1 percent drop.

    Yet nondurable-products production in the county increased 2.2 percent over 12 months, or by 200 net jobs, with 500 more in beverage production offsetting 300 fewer in other nondurable products.

    Mendocino County slips to No. 15 in the state

    The jobless rate for Mendocino County rose 120 basis points to 11.3 percent last month from October and was 50 basis points higher than the rate 12 months before.The county’s state ranking slipped five spots to No. 15 from October.

    Employment dipped 1.3 percent in November to 38,200 positions, compared with a year before.

    The end of the prolonged winegrape harvest was a big contributor to the month-to-month jump, yet the state estimated the number of farm jobs actually increased over the year by 20.5 percent to 1,760.

    Lake County retains No. 53 rank in the state as leisure and hospitality joblessness climbs

    Though Lake County‘s unemployment rate increased 100 basis points to 18.7 percent in November from a year before and 160 basis points from October, the county retained its hold on the No. 53 spot on the state’s ranking of its 58 counties.

    The number of employed in the county last month was 20,150, an almost 4 percent decrease from October and nearly 2 percent dip from 12 months before.

    Farm employment related to the winegrape harvest was the month-to-month job-loss leading industry, though farm employment last month was the same as it was a year before.

    The hardest hit industry in the county last month was leisure and hospitality, with 140 fewer jobs from October and 170 from 12 months prior, decreases of about 15 percent to 16 percent, respectively.

    California and the U.S. rates remain on high plateau

    California’s jobless rate was 12.4 percent in November, tying with Michigan for the second-highest rates in the county, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only Nevada’s rate of 14.3 percent beat them.

    California’s unemployment rate has been more than 12 percent since August 2009, peaking at 12.6 percent in March of this year.

    The U.S. unemployment rate was 9.8 percent last month.

    Unemployment rates for North Bay counties

    County

    November 2009

    October 2010

    November 2010

    State rank
    (out of 58)

    Lake

    17.4%

    17.1%

    18.7%

    53

    Marin

    8.3%

    8.1%

    8.2%

    1

    Mendocino

    10.8%

    10.1%

    11.3%

    15

    Napa

    9.5%

    8.8%

    10.0%

    8

    Solano

    11.6%

    11.6%

    12.1%

    20

    Sonoma

    10.2%

    9.7%

    10.1%

    9

    California

    12.3%

    12.4%

    12.4%

    U.S.

    10.0%

    9.6%

    9.8%

    Sources: California Employment Development Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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