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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.

Over the year, manufacturing continued its rebound, adding 1,200 jobs, while professional services added 1,000.

Total jobs in Sonoma County increased 2.2 percent from April to May and 0.4 percent from May 2011.Marin County

Marin County continued to have the lowest rate in California, dipping to 6.3 percent from a revised 6.5 percent rate in April and a full percentage point below the previous May's estimate.

Industry employment data isn't yet available for the first five months of this year.Napa County

The unemployment rate in the Napa County was 7.5 percent in May, down from a revised 8.3 percent in April and below the year-ago estimate of 8.4 percent.

Over the month, leisure and hospitality added 400 jobs, as did the trade, transportation and utilities sector. Education and health added 300, while professional services and manufacturing each added 200.

Industry jobs in Napa County grew 5.5 percent from April to May and 0.3 percent from the previous May.Solano County

The unemployment rate in the Solano County was 10.1 percent in May 2012, down from a revised 10.2 percent in April 2012, and below the year-ago estimate of 11.3 percent.

Over the month, leisure and hospitality posted 200 jobs, but it added 1,000 over the year. Trade, transportation and utilities added 1,300 jobs over the year, while education and health added 900 and professional services added 500.

Net job growth in Solano County was 0.3 percent from April to May and 2.7 percent from a year before.Mendocino County

Mendocino County had a jobless rate of 9.7 percent in May, down from 10.5 percent in April and 10.6 percent a year before.

Total industry employment increased by 470 jobs, or 1.7 percent, over the month but declined 280 jobs, or 1 percent, over the year.Lake County

Lake County's unemployment rate dropped to 14.7 percent from 15.6 percent in April and the previous May's rate of 16.3 percent.

Total industry employment increased over the month by 390 jobs, or 2.3 percent, and added 310 jobs over the year, up 2.9 percent. Much of that occurred in farming, which posted 230 jobs over the year.California

California's unemployment rate dropped to 10.8 percent from 10.9 percent in April. Nationally, the rate was 7.9 percent.

Leisure and hospitality statewide added the most jobs in April in absolute terms, with 13,200, followed by professional and business services, and education and health care, each of which added 10,500 jobs over the month, according to the Beacon report.

Over the year, professional and business services led the recovery, adding 87,900 jobs -- gains that represent nearly 40 percent of all jobs added back in California over the year, the report said.

The Los Angeles metro region had the largest gain in the state, with 12,200 jobs, while the San Francisco metro area was second, with 4,200 jobs created, the Beacon report noted.Unemployment rates for North Bay counties

AreaMay

2011revised

April

2012prelim.

May

2012State rank

(out of 58)

Lake Co.16.3%15.6%14.7%45

Marin Co.7.3%6.5%6.3%1

Mendocino Co.10.6%10.5%9.7%15

Napa Co.8.4%8.3%7.5%5

Solano Co.11.3%10.2%10.1%19

Sonoma Co.9.4%8.7%8.3%9

California11.4%10.5%10.4%--

U.S.8.7%7.7%7.9%--

Source: California Employment Development Department.