North Bay Business Journal

Friday, March 22, 2013, 10:19 am

North Bay unemployment rises post-holidays

Region has 12,000-plus annual job gain


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    Unemployment rates across the six North Bay counties ticked up in January, according to state estimates released Friday, a rise attributed to staffing reductions after the year-end holidays.

    Sonoma County jobs vs. job growth - January 2000-January 2013

    Sonoma County jobs vs. job growth (click to enlarge)

    Sonoma County’s unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in January, up from a revised 7.8 percent in December but well below the year-ago estimate of 9.5 percent, according to the California Employment Development Department.

    “Yes, the increase in the January unemployment for Sonoma is fairly typical at this time of year due to the holiday season winding down,” said Linda Wong, a North Bay labor market consultant for the department.

    Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates, which account for such year-end employment, were 9.8 percent in January across California was a seasonally adjusted, accounting for such year-end employment, and 7.9 percent nationally.

    Sonoma Co. jobs up by 5,400

    Over the year, Sonoma County had a net gain of 5,400 jobs, with particular gains in trade, transportation and utilities and leisure and hospitality, which added 1,500 and 1,200 jobs, respectively. Other yearly gains occurred professional and business services, with 800 more jobs, and manufacturing and eduction and health services each with 700 additional positions.

    But from December to January, there were no job gains and several losses, mostly in trade, transportation and utilities and hospitality, which shed 600 and 500 jobs, respectively. Construction shed 400 jobs and education and health lost 300.

    Solano adds 2,600 jobs

    Solano County jobs vs job growth - January 2000-January 2013

    Solano County jobs vs job growth (click to enlarge)

    The unemployment rate in the Solano County was 10.0 percent in January, up from a revised 9.4 percent in December. The January 2012 estimate was 11.1 percent.

    Solano gained 2,600 jobs over the 12-month period. Yearly gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, at 900, construction and education and health each with 500, the trades with 700  and manufacturing with 200. A total of 2,600 jobs were added over the year. Over the month, the trades shed the most jobs, at 1,500, education and health, at 800, hospitality with 500 and construction at 200.

    Marin still has state’s lowest joblessness

    Marin County retained its No. 1 rank for  lowest unemployment rate in the state in January with 5.8 percent. That rose barely from 5.6 percent in December and was down more than 1 percentage point from 6.7 percent in the previous January.

    Industry specifics are not available for Marin, part of a three-county region that includes San Francisco and San Mateo counties. But the region similarly saw a post-holiday dropoff, with trade, hospitality, education and construction shedding jobs over the month.

    Napa Valley adds 3,600 jobs

    Napa County’s jobless rate was 8.0 percent in January, up from a revised 7.7 percent in December but well under the year-ago estimate of 9.3 percent. 

    Over the year, 3,600 jobs were added, with manufacturing and leisure and hospitality, which had gains of 1,400 and 1,200, respectively, while construction and the trades added 400 and 300.

    Seasonal monthly losses occurred in hospitality, down 200, the trades and professional services, both off by 300, and government, which shed 200.

    Mendocino adds 740 jobs

    Mendocino County’s unemployment rate in January rose to 9.9 percent from 9.4 percent at year-end. That’s down from 11.0 percent at the beginning of last year.

    Yearly job growth occurred in hospitality, which added 300 jobs, the trades, with 170, and manufacturing, which added 130 jobs. A total of 740 jobs were added over the year. Over the month, though, 590 jobs were shed.

    Farming leads Lake Co. job gains

    Lake County’s jobless rate was 15.5 percent in January, up from 15.0 percent at year-end and down from 17.0 percent the previous January.

    The county had a net gain of 180 jobs over the year. Farming led the way with 230 more jobs.


    According to Beacon Economics, the labor market continues to improve in the state,  albeit still at a slow pace. Newly released 2013 data shows a 1,700 position increase in nonfarm payrolls in January over December 2012 employment levels, a 0.01 percent increase.

    The state’s labor force did grow by 32,900 as new job seekers entered, or re-entered, the market, but 2,800 were unable to find gainful employment, according to the EDD’s household employment survey.

    The most notable revisions to the 2012 data include an additional 25,700 jobs in professional and business services, 22,900 jobs in other services, and 21,000 jobs in leisure and hospitality. But those gains were partially offset by a 21,000 downward revision to the information sector.

    The construction industry in particular has seen strong improvement over the year.  Revised 2012 numbers show 16,200 more jobs for the year than originally estimated, and January 2013 data reports an additional 7,300 jobs for the month, a 1.7% month-over-month increase. With home prices trending up and a low housing supply in the state, new construction was inevitable. As a result, Construction industry is seeing much-needed hiring activity.

    Both the Los Angeles and San Francisco metro regions led the state in job creation for the month, adding 5,700 and 5,000 jobs, respectively.

    Unemployment rates for North Bay counties

    County January
    2012 revised
    State rank
    (out of 58)
    Lake Co. 17.0% 15.0% 15.5% 43
    Marin Co. 6.7% 5.6% 5.8% 1
    Mendocino Co. 11.0% 9.4% 9.9% 18
    Napa Co. 9.3% 7.7% 8.0% 7
    Solano Co. 11.1% 9.4% 10.0% 20
    Sonoma Co. 9.5% 7.8% 8.3% 8
    California 11.0%* 9.8% 9.8%*
    U.S. 8.3%* 7.8% 7.9%*

    *Seasonally adjusted rate, accounting for a typical rise in year-end employment. Source: California Employment Development Department.

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