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Sonoma County rate improves, Lake County rate increases

NORTH BAY -- Unemployment rates throughout the North Bay remained at high levels in October and were virtually unchanged from a year ago, except for improvement in Sonoma County and worsening in Lake County, according to state figures released today.

Marin County holds No. 1 spot

Marin County continued to hold the distinction of having the best unemployment rate in the state at 8.0 percent in October, beating No. 2 San Mateo County's 8.5 percent. Marin's jobless rate improved from 8.4 percent in October 2009 and September 2010.

Industry-specific employment data for Marin was not available.

Sonoma County rate eases by 50 basis points

The estimate of Sonoma County's jobless rate improved to 9.7 percent in October from 10.1 percent in October 2009 and 10.2 percent in September of this year.

The Employment Development Department tallied a net loss of 1,800 jobs for the county over the 12-month period. Year-over-year job gains of 800 in health care and 700 in professional, business and other services and 100 in leisure and hospitality didn't offset 1,200 positions lost in government, 1,000 in construction, 500 in manufacturing, 500 all together in financial, information and trade, transportation and utilities industries and 200 in agriculture.

In addition to the pickup of 900 government jobs from September to October as teachers returned to classes for the school year, Sonoma County picked up 300 jobs in health care, 200 each in professional and business services as well as trade, transportation and utilities, and 100 in manufacturing.

State Farm Insurance this week announced the closing of its 450-employee Rohnert Park operations center. That won't be completed until the end of July 2011. [Read the story.]

Lake County jobs decrease 3.9 percent in 12 months

Lake County's October unemployment rate was 17.1 percent, up from 16.0 percent in October 2009 and unchanged from 17.0 percent in September 2010.

The county had a net loss of 530 jobs, or 3.9 percent, from a year before. Many of the major job-producing segments had little change in employment from a year before. But retail employment decreased 4.6 percent to 1,880 positions; leisure and hospitality, 20.3 percent to 1,020; and construction, 21.7 percent to 360.

Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa on Clear Lake employed 700 when it closed indefinitely in November 2009.

Napa County gains 1,100 manufacturing and professional and business services jobs

The October unemployment rate in Napa County was virtually unchanged from a year ago at 8.9 percent, but down from 9.3 percent in September of this year.

The county had a net loss of 1,800 jobs over 12 months. There were 500 net new jobs in manufacturing -- including 500 more in wine and other beverage production and and 200 more in durable goods -- and 600 more in professional and business services.

Those year-over-year gains were offset by 1,900 fewer private-sector jobs, led by 1,100 fewer in construction and 700 in agriculture, and 300 fewer government positions.

Mendocino County farm employment increases 13.9 percent

Mendocino County's October unemployment rate was 10.2 percent, barely changed from 10.3 percent a year before and 10.7 percent in September.

There were 500 more farm jobs in the county over the 12-month period, an increase of 13.9 percent to 2,460. The drawn-out winegrape harvest this year led to an increase of 100 farm workers from September to October.

Yet all the major industries in the county had fewer jobs from a year ago. Construction employment slipped 18 percent to 820; retail, 2.7 percent to 4,330; leisure and hospitality, 2.9 percent 3,330; and government, 4.2 percent to 6,910.

The county's labor pool had 500 fewer people than in October 2009, and nearly 400 fewer employed.

Solano County rate unchanged from 2009

The October jobless rate estimate for Solano County of 11.7 percent was unchanged from a year ago and 30 basis points lower from a revised rate of 12.1 percent in September. The county had a net of 2,600 fewer jobs than in October 2009, led by 600 fewer in trade, transportation and utilities, 500 fewer in construction and 500 fewer in government.

Over the 12-month period, the labor pool in the county decreased by 1,100 people, with 1,000 fewer employed and 100 fewer seeking unemployment benefits.

In the first quarter, 100 are scheduled to be laid off at Genetech's plant in Vacaville as part of companywide restructuring. [Read the story.]

Unemployment rates for North Bay countiesCountyOctober 2009September 2010October 2010

State rank

(out of 58)Lake16.0%17.0%17.1%53Marin8.4%8.4%8.0%1Mendocino10.3%10.7%10.2%10Napa8.8%9.3%8.9%4Solano11.7%12.1%11.7%23Sonoma10.1%10.2%9.7%9California12.1%12.4%12.0%--U.S.10.1%9.6%9.6%--

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