Sonoma County rate falls below 10 percent for the first time since May

NORTH BAY -- Unemployment in all North Bay counties sloped downward in September, according state Employment Development Department reports released today. Sonoma County’s rate dropped below 10 percent for the first time since May.

Sonoma County's jobless rate fell to 9.9 percent in September, down from a revised rate of 10.3 percent the previous month, but still well above a year-ago estimate of 5.8 percent. The state agency calculates the rates according to the number of people actively seeking jobs.

The county still reported about 10,500 fewer jobs in September compared with the same time last year, but just between August and September the county gained 2,800. Mining and logging and the information sector were the only industries that did not lose positions year over year. Manufacturing shed the most with about 2,400 fewer jobs during the same period and trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 2,100. Government added the most positions between August and September, rising by 2,500. Manufacturing added 100 jobs last month, and education and health services added 200.

Napa County’s unemployment dropped slightly last month to 8.7 percent from 9.1 percent in August. In September 2008, the county reported a 5 percent jobless rate. Napa shed a net of 4,200 jobs in the past 12 months, but added 1,100 between August and September.

Government and education and health services were the only sectors that added positions year over year, growing by 200 and 400 respectively. Information and other services were stable, while mining, construction and logging as well as financial and professional and business services both dropped about 500 year over year. Manufacturing fell by 1,300 in the same period, but added 400 jobs just between the previous two months.

Most sectors were stable between August and September, and leisure and hospitality was the only industry to fall, losing 100.

Marin County's jobless rate fell to 8 percent last month compared with 8.3 percent in August and 4.7 percent in September 2008. Industry-specific figures were not available for Marin.

The jobless rate in Solano County decreased slightly last month to 11.5 percent compared with 11.6 percent in August and 7.2 percent the previous September. The county lost about 4,200 positions in the last 12 months and 700 between August and September. Construction lost the most jobs year over year, shedding 1,200, followed closely by trade and transportation, which lost 1,100.

Most sectors were stable or dropped slightly in the most recent two months. Leisure and hospitability and government lost the most, dropping by 200 positions each.

California’s September unemployment rate moved slightly down to 12 percent from 12.1 percent last month, compared with an equally minimal decline in the national rate to 9.5 percent from 9.6 percent.