NORTH BAY -- While the nation's jobless rate dropped below 9 percent to 8.9 percent, unemployment edged upward in much of the region in January, with Sonoma County seeing an increase of half a percentage point. Mendocino, Lake and Solano counties all saw increases, while Napa and Marin remained the same, according to state figures released this morning from the Employment Development Department.

Marin County continued to have the lowest unemployment rate in state, at 8.2 percent.

Sonoma County saw its unemployment rate rise half a percentage point, from 10 percent in December 2010 to 10.5 percent in January and down from the year-ago rate of 11.2 percent.

Despite the uptick in the unemployment rate, Sonoma County had 1.9 percent year-over-year job growth, adding 3,200 jobs in January from a year before. December had the first annual job growth for the county in three years.

However, government sector jobs and seasonal hospitality and tourism work dropped off from December to January, shedding 800 and 700 net positions, respectively. Another 900 jobs were lost in trade, transportation and utilities.

Napa County's rate of 10.7 percent remained unchanged from December but was down from the year-ago rate of 10.9 percent.

The unemployment rate for Solano County increased to 12.4 percent in January from a revised rate of 12 percent in December. The rate last month was barely below the 12.5 percent rate of the prior January.

Lake County, which has one of the highest jobless rates in the state, saw an increase from 19.3 percent in December to 19.7 percent in January, from a year-ago rate of 19.4 percent.

Mendocino County saw the biggest month-over change, with over half a percentage point increase from 11.6 percent in December to 12.3 percent in January but down from last year's rate of 12.5 percent.

Unemployment rates for North Bay countiesAreaJanuary



2011State rank

(out of 58)Lake Co.19.4%19.3%19.7%49Marin Co.9.0%8.2%8.2%1Mendocino Co.12.5%11.6%12.3%19Napa Co.10.9%10.7%10.7%12Solano Co.12.5%12.0%12.4%21Sonoma Co.11.2%10.0%10.5%10California12.4%12.5%12.7%--U.S.10.0%9.4%8.9%--

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