NORTH BAY -- Unemployment rates across the North Bay dropped in August, as the start of the school year spurred hiring by the government sector and professional services in some counties enjoyed a rebound in hiring, according to figures releases this morning from the Employment Development Department.

[caption id="attachment_40444" align="alignright" width="400" caption="Year-over-year job growth in North Bay counties, rolling three months from May 2001-August 2011. (click to enlarge)"][/caption]

Sonoma County’s unemployment rate was 10 percent in August, down from a revised 10.4 percent in July and below the year-ago estimate of 10.5 percent. However, job gains that had been posted through much of the year stalled during the month.

Napa County’s rate dropped to 8.8 percent in August from 9.2 percent in July, compared to the year-ago rate of 9.4 percent. Monthly gains occurred in manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, government and education and health services – all with 100 jobs apiece. Over the year, Napa County grew its workforce by 2.2 percent, from 64,600 jobs last August to 66,000 currently – the first year-over-year job growth since October 2008.

[caption id="attachment_40448" align="alignright" width="300" caption="North Bay industry employment, January 2001-August 2011 (click to enlarge)"][/caption]

 In Marin, part of a region that includes San Francisco and San Mateo counties, the rate was 7.8 percent – the lowest in California – down from 8.1 percent in July. Industry specifics for Marin aren’t made available, but across the three-county region, professional services added 2,600 jobs, far surpassing its average gain of 600 jobs between July and August over the past 21 years. Government added 2,500 jobs.

Solano County’s rate dropped to 11.6 percent in August from 12.2 percent and below last year’s rate of 11.9 percent. The county posted strong monthly growth, adding 1,900 total jobs from July to August. Gains were made in government, at 600 jobs. Trade, transportation and utilities added 300 jobs, while leisure and hospitality, education and health services and professional services all netted 200 jobs apiece. Over the year, the county lost 2,600 jobs.

Mendocino County had a rate of 10.7 percent in August, down from 11.3 percent in July but unchanged from a year ago. The government sector added 690 jobs, while farming added 100 jobs.

In Lake County, unemployment remained high at 16.6 percent, but down from 17.5 percent in July and down from 17.2 percent a year ago. Farming added 130 jobs and government added 100 positions.

Statewide, the comparable August rate was 12.1 percent.