(UPDATED 1:35 p.m. with Beacon Economics comments) NORTH BAY -- Unemployment rates across the North Bay continued to edge downward from historically high levels, as hospitality and leisure continued to add seasonal jobs in most counties, according to figures released from the state Employment Development Department.
Sonoma County's unemployment rate in May was 9.4 percent, down from the previous month at 9.9 percent and below the year-ago estimate of 10 percent. The county added 3,700 jobs over the course of one month, with significant gains in manufacturing, which includes wineries, at 700 jobs, leisure and hospitality at 600 jobs and construction and trade, transportation and utilities at 400 apiece. Sonoma County added 1,800 jobs over the year, the only county to do so across the North Coast.
Marin County continued to post the lowest rate in California, with unemployment at 7.4 percent in May, down from 7.6 percent in April and 9 percent a year ago. Industry specifics aren't available for Marin, which is part of a three-county West Bay Region that includes San Francisco and San Mateo counties. Across that region, leisure and hospitality posted 1,300 jobs, below the average gain for this time of year of 1,900 jobs.
Napa County dropped from 9.6 percent in April to 8.7 percent in May, down from the year-ago estimate of 9 percent. Leisure and hospitality added 100 jobs over the previous month and 400 over the course of the year, while trade, transportation and utilities added 200 jobs from April to May. Manufacturing was flat over the past month, but has posted 300 jobs over the year.
Solano County's rate edged down from 11.5 percent in April to 11.3 percent in May, below the year ago rate of 11.6 percent. Monthly growth occurred in trade, transportation and utilities, construction and manufacturing, posting 100 jobs apiece
Mendocino County's dropped a full point, from 11.6 percent in April to 10.6 percent in May, but only slightly down from the year-ago estimate of 10.8 percent. Farming added the most positions over the month, with 250, while mining and logging added 100 and leisure and hospitality added 80 jobs.
Likewise in Lake County, monthtly growth in farming helped the county see the biggest decrease in unemployment, though the rate remained well above that of its North Coast neighbors, at 16.8 percent in May compared to 18.2 percent in April and just below the year-ago rate of 17.1 percent. Farming adding 450 jobs, while government added 130 positions -- bucking the trend of its neighboring counties, which either cut or had no change in government jobs.
California's rate was at 11.4 percent, while the national rate dropped to 8.7 percent.
Following is the analysis of Beacon Economics on the state unemployment rate:
Golden State Employment A Roller Coaster Ride: California reported a job loss of 29,200 jobs between April and May - the largest in the nation. Although jarring at first glance, the state's overall long-term trend is one of job growth. For some time, California has been in a pattern of gaining jobs one month and losing them the next - rendering a single month's figures deceiving. This roller coaster ride is a result of the ongoing push and pull between regions and industries that are adding jobs and those that have not yet turned the corner. However, overall, job losses in the still-depressed industries and regions are decelerating, while job gains are accelerating. By 2012 look for more consistent month-to-month growth figures.- Unemployment Edges Down Again: California's unemployment rate fell for the 5th consecutive month, dropping from 11.8% in April to 11.7% in May. However, as we've reported in the past, this is largely a result of people dropping out of the labor force. The state's labor force has shrunk by 152,800 people since March 2010.- Regional Rise and Fall: In an example of the month-to-month variances being seen in employment data, Los Angeles County experienced the biggest job loss in California (-17,100) from April to May, after gaining jobs between March and April. The Inland Empire (-6,400), Orange County (-5,100) and Oakland (-1,700) also lost jobs. On the other side of the coin, San Diego (+3,100), Ventura (+2,000), and Santa Rosa (+1,700) added jobs.