NORTH BAY -- The joblessness rates in September across the North Bay remain stuck above a year ago and were little changed from August.

Unemployment rates in Marin and Napa counties remained the same over the month, at 8.4 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively, while Sonoma and Mendocino counties saw slight drops and Solano and Lake ticked upward, according to data released this morning by the Employment Development Center.

California’s rate dropped slightly, from 12.4 percent in August to 12.2 percent last month, from 12.1 percent a year ago.

Sonoma County had a jobless rate of 10.2 percent in September, down from a revised 10.5 percent the previous month but up from the year-ago estimate of 9.9 percent. The government sector posted the largest month-over gain as teachers returned to school, with 2,300 jobs added, while farming and manufacturing saw increases of 1,000 and 400 in the respective sectors. Those gains were partly offset, however, by 500 lost positions in the leisure and hospitality industry.

Marin County maintained the lowest unemployment rate in state. The year-ago average was slightly lower at 8 percent. Part of the three-county West Bay region that includes San Mateo and San Francisco counties, Marin saw  jobs increase in government and private education sectors. Gains were also made in professional and business services, which faired significantly better than the previous August-September cycles that averaged a 500-job average decrease in the three counties over the past 20 years, according to the EDD. Leisure and hospitality jobs, however, decreased over the last month, while over the course of the year construction, information and professional services posted net losses.

Napa County added 500 farm jobs and 200 jobs in both education and manufacturing. Losses occurred in trade, transportation and utilities, at 200, and construction, at 100 jobs lost. The year-ago rate in Napa was 8.5 percent.

Mendocino County saw a slight decrease, from 10.8 percent in August to 10.7 percent in September, both of which were above last year’s average at 10 percent. Farming and manufacturing, like other North Bay counties, posted increases, at 150 and 100 apiece. But unlike elsewhere in the North Bay, Mendocino’s continued cuts to government jobs resulted in a loss of 360 jobs, the EDD said.

Solano County’s unemployment rate edged upward to 12.1 percent in September from 12 percent in August and up from last year’s rate of 11.3 percent. Only education and health services and farming posted increases, at 100 jobs apiece, while leisure and hospitality lost 300 jobs, and construction and government each lost 200 positions.

Lake County continued to post the highest unemployment rate in the North Bay – at 17 percent, up from 16.8 percent last month and 14.3 percent a year ago. Seasonal layoffs in farming, which posted a month-over loss of 500 jobs, and leisure and hospitality partially negated 290 new jobs in government that were added with the new school year, the EDD said.

Unemployment rates for North Bay countiesCountySept. 2009August 2010 Sept.  2010State rankLake14.3%16.8%17%53Marin8%8.4%8.4%1Mendocino10%10.8%10.7%14Napa8.5%9.3%9.3%4Solano11.3%12%12.1%25Sonoma9.9%10.5%10.2%9California12.1%12.4%12.2%--U.S.9.8%9.6%9.2%--

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