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Friday, December 21, 2012, 2:23 pm

Post-harvest unemployment rises

Sonoma, Solano, Napa add 10,200 jobs over year

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    Unemployment rates in the six North Bay counties edged upward or remained unchanged in November, according to state figures released this morning, as lower employment in farming and processing winegrapes after the harvest helped offset hiring in retail for the holidays.

    Despite the dip in farming employment, Sonoma County continued to have among the fastest annual job growth in the state last month.

    The jobless rate last month for the state dropped by three-1oths of a point to 9.8 percent and for the nation by two-10ths of a point to 7.7 percent.

    Sonoma County

    The unemployment rate for Sonoma County increased a 10th of a point last month to a preliminary estimate 7.7 percent from the revised October figure and was down significantly from 9.1 percent the previous November, according to the California Employment Development Department. However, the county remained among the 10 counties in the state with the lowest proportion of joblessness.

    The estimated number of jobs in the county dipped 3,600 jobs, or 1.9 percent, to 182,000 from October. Net gains of 600 in retail and 200 in local public schools were offset by reductions of 1,800 in farming as the winegrape harvest ended in early November, 800 in manufacturing and 400 in leisure and hospitality as the tourism season tapered off.

    However, the county had a net gain of 8,300 jobs, or 4.8 percent, from a year before, led by 1,600 more in manufacturing, 1,400 in education and health services, 1,100 in professional services and 1,000 each in construction and leisure and hospitality. Sonoma County has had among the fastest job growth in the state this year.

    Solano County

    The preliminary estimate for the proportion of joblessness in Solano County last month was 9.3 percent, unchanged from the revised estimate for October but down significantly from the 10.5 percent rate the previous November.

    The county eked out a net gain of 100 jobs last month from October, thanks to 500 more retail jobs.

    Annual growth was 1.2 percent to 122,400 jobs, an net additional of 1,400 positions, led by 500 more each in leisure and hospitality as well as educational and health services, 400 in retail and 300 each in construction and professional services.

    Marin County

    Marin County’s estimated jobless rate was unchanged at 5.8 percent last month from the October revision, still the lowest in the state. The rate is a percentage-point lower than it was the previous November.

    Industry employment figures for this year aren’t yet available. The county had 103,700 jobs in November of last year.

    Napa County

    The preliminary unemployment rate increased six-10ths of a point to 7.5 percent last month from the revised October estimate, but the November rate was down a percentage point from a year before.

    Industry employment dropped by 2,500 positions, or 3.7 percent, to 65,200 from October, but was up by eight-10ths of a point, or 500 jobs from a year before. Of the monthly reduction in jobs, 2,200 positions came from farming as the Napa Valley winegrape harvest concluded in the first week of November.

    The annual job gain came from 400 more in leisure and hospitality, 200 more in manufacturing, mostly from durable goods, and 100 more in information services.

    Mendocino County

    Like Sonoma and Napa counties, the end of the winegrape harvest contributed to the increase in Mendocino County’s preliminary jobless rate estimate by four-10ths of point to 9.1 percent last month from the October revision. Yet the jobless rate is down more than a point from a year before.

    Reported industry employment declined by 2.1 percent from October to 28,660, thanks to a reduction in 600 farm jobs.

    From the previous November, the jobs estimate decreased 1.2 percent, or 360 jobs. The biggest hit came to retail jobs, down by 120 positions.

    Lake County

    The Lake County unemployment figure increased by seven-10ths of a point to 14.5 percent last month from October but was down from 15.8 percent the previous November.

    Of the 4.5 percent drop in industry employment from October to November to 13,010 jobs, 520 of the 610 fewer jobs were the farm positions as the winegrape harvest concluded. The county had a 100-job net loss, or eight-10ths of a point, from the previous November.

    Unemployment rates for North Bay counties

    County November
    2011
    revised
    October
    2012
    prelim.
    November
    2012
    State rank
    (out of 58)
    Lake 15.8%  13.8%  14.5%  51
    Marin 6.8%  5.8%  5.8% 
    Mendocino 10.2%  8.7%  9.1%  17 
    Napa 8.5%  6.9%  7.5% 
    Solano 10.5%  9.3%  9.3%  18 
    Sonoma 9.1%  7.6%  7.7% 
    California 11.3%  10.1%  9.8% 
    U.S. 8.7%  7.9%  7.7% 

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

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