North Bay unemployment drops in May

Unemployment rates across the North Bay dropped in May from April and were significantly below rates a year before, as the leisure and hospitality sector added the most jobs over the month, according to state figures released today.

The recent improvements across the North Bay are a sign of California's bounceback on the job front, according to Beacon Economics.

The state added almost 34,000 non-farm payroll over the month, a growth rate of 3 percent, and it would be closer to 4 percent growth were it not for continued cuts in the government sector, according to the analysis group, which is based in Los Angeles and has an office in San Rafael.

"Compared to the nation overall, California added back a staggering number of jobs from April to May. U.S. non-farm payrolls expanded by 69,000 whereas California added back 33,900 jobs, representing nearly half of all national job growth," the report said.

That's better than the slowing pace of job creation that hit the rest of the country in May, the report said. It noted that April's figure were revised upward, resulting in a modest job growth gain.

Across the state, growth was led by the service sector -- professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, along with education and health care. Manufacturing, which has lagged on the national level, added nearly 3,000 jobs across the state in May.

Technology, exports, and tourism have all contributed to the state's recent turnaround, which appeared to be lagging behind the rest of the country for some time, according to the report.

California's unemployment rate dropped to 10.8 percent from 10.9 percent in April. The labor force expanded by 12,400 positions, an indication that the decrease in the unemployment rate "reflects real job growth as opposed to people ending their job search and leaving the labor force," the report said.Sonoma County

Sonoma County's unemployment rate in May dipped to 8.3 percent -- it's lowest mark since 2008 -- from a revised 8.7 percent the previous month and was below the previous May's rate of 9.4 percent, according to the state Employment Development Department.

Over the month, the leisure and hospitality field added 800 jobs. Trade, transportation and utilities, professional services and education and health services each added 400 jobs over the month.

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