Unemployment rates drop across North Bay in April

NORTH BAY -- Unemployment rates in April dropped all across the North Bay, led by a significant uptick in leisure and hospitality hiring, while Sonoma County continued to post yearly increases in jobs, according to figures released this morning by the state Employment Development Department.

Statewide, the rate dropped slightly, from 12 percent to 11.9 percent.  The state added 8,900 new jobs in April, with the leisure and hospitality industry posting the largest increase over the month -- a trend echoed in the North Bay. Although the monthly rates decreased, many remained at similar levels of a year ago, save for Marin and Sonoma counties, which continued slow but steady rebounds.

Sonoma County's rate was 9.8 percent in April, down from 10.5 percent in March and 10.5 percent this time last year. From March to April, 1,700 jobs were added, with hospitality and tourism adding 500 of those positions.  Over the year,  2,800 jobs were added in Sonoma County, with the biggest gain coming in education and health services, at 900, followed closely by professional and business services, at 800. Construction also posted 600 jobs over the year.

Marin County continued to have the lowest unemployment rate in California, at 7.6 percent, which was down from 8 percent in March and 9 percent a year ago.  Industry specifics for Marin, part of a three-county West Bay region that includes  San Mateo and San Francisco, aren't available. But within those three counties, leisure and hospitality posted a net gain 1,800 jobs.

Napa County's unemployment rate fell to 9.6 percent in April from 10.3 percent in March and just below the year-ago rate of 9.9 percent. Over the course of the year, Napa posted a loss of 300 jobs, but month-over gains in hospitality and tourism, education and health services and professional and business services helped reduce unemployment claims. From March to April, hospitality and tourism gained 500 jobs, education and health, 300 jobs, and professional and business services had 200 jobs.

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