Unemployment rates across the North Bay dropped slightly in September, with markedly better estimates for each of the six counties than a year before and slight improvements over the month, according to state figures released this morning.

[caption id="attachment_63476" align="alignleft" width="300"] North Bay jobs and growth, March 2001-September 2012 (click to enlarge)[/caption]

The unemployment rate in Sonoma County fell 1.3 percentage points to 7.6 percent last month, compared to last year's rate of 9.5 percent, according to the state Employment Development Department.

The county had a 3.7 percent net increase in jobs, or 6,600 positions, from a year before. The biggest industry gains came from 1,600 more over the 12-month period in manufacturing, 1,400 in education and health services, 1,200 in professional and business services, 900 in leisure and hospitality, and 800 in construction.

Solano County's jobless rate dipped to 9.3 percent in September, falling below 10 percent for the first time since May 2009, and August figures were revised lower.

The county had a net gain of 2,200 jobs over the 12 months ending in September, led by 700 more in trade, transportation and utilities, 500 in education and health services and 400 in business and professional services.

[caption id="attachment_63463" align="alignright" width="300"] Marin jobs and growth, January 2001-December 2011. 2012 industry-employment figures are not yet available for Marin. (click to enlarge)[/caption]

Marin County retained its top spot in the state for the lowest unemployment rate, 5.8 percent. Industry job data isn't yet available for Marin in 2012.

Napa County's unemployment rate rocketed up the state's charts to third-best in September, falling six-10ths of a percentage point to 6.9 percent, compared to last ear's estimate of 8.3 percent.

The county had a net loss of 100 jobs from a year before. A net gain of 500 jobs in farming, construction, information services, and professional and business services was offset by net losses in leisure and hospitality, federal government and local education, financial activities and other services.

The official unemployment rate in Mendocino County improved by half a percentage point to 8.8 percent in September, compared to 10.1 percent a year ago.

The county had a 1.9 percent net loss of jobs, or 540 jobs, from a year before.

Lake County's jobless rate decreased six-10ths of a percentage point from August and 1.6 percentage points from a year before and to 13.4 percent last month.

The county had a 2.9 percent net loss of jobs, or 410 positions, over the year.

The comparable rate across California was 10.2 percent in September, with the state adding 8,500 jobs over the month. Year-over-year nonfarm payroll employment in California increased by 262,000 jobs, up 1.9 percent.The comparable national average was 7.6 percent.Unemployment rates for North Bay countiesAreaSeptember



2012State rank

(out of 58)Lake Co.15.0% 14.0% 13.4% 49Marin Co.7.3% 6.4% 5.8% 1Mendocino Co.10.1% 9.3% 8.8% 17Napa Co.8.3% 7.5% 6.9% 3Solano Co.11.1% 9.9% 9.3% 23 Sonoma Co.9.5% 8.3% 7.6% 8California11.7% 10.6% 10.2% --U.S.9.0% 8.1% 7.8% --

Source: California Employment Development Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.