[caption id="attachment_64937" align="alignright" width="400"] North Bay employment and job growth - January 2001-October 2012 (source: California Employment Development Department; analysis: North Bay Business Journal; click to enlarge)[/caption]

Unemployment rates for North Bay counties were largely unchanged in October from the month before, but Sonoma County continued to lead all of California in job growth, helping the entire North Bay grow by 2.5 percent from the previous October, according to state figures released this morning.

The unemployment rate in Sonoma County was 7.6 percent in October, unchanged from a revised 7.6 percent in September and below the estimate of 9.3 percent for the previous October, according to the Employment Development Department.

The county had a net annual gain of 9,200 jobs last month, or 5.3 percent, the best rate in the state for the second straight month, according to Linda Wong, North Bay labor market consultant for the EDD.

"In September, Sonoma County grew by 6,500 jobs year-over, which was 3.8 percent growth," Ms. Wong said, citing preliminary figures. "In August, however, Sonoma County ranked fourth in the state."

Gains came from 1,500 more jobs in manufacturing, 1,400 in private education and health services, 1,300 each in private-sector services and mainly retail trade, 1,100 each in leisure and hospitality as well as government, and 900 in construction.

Sonoma County's 9,500-job construction industry, which had been beleaguered by slow activity since 2006, enjoyed a 10.5 percent increase from a year before.

Marin County's jobless rate remained the state's lowest at 5.8 percent last month, unchanged from September but below the 7.1 percent rate of the previous October. Figures for Marin industry employment this year are not yet available.

In Solano County, the October unemployment rate was 9.3 percent, unchanged from the revised rate of 9.3 percent in the month before and under the 10.8 percent figure a year before. 

The county had a net gain of 1,500 jobs over the year, or 1.2 percent. Trade, transportation and utilities led the way with 700 more jobs. Other gains were 600 in leisure and hospitality, 500 in private education and health services, 300 each for professional and business services as well as construction, and 100 jobs in financial activities.

The unemployment rate in the Napa County was 6.9 percent in October, unchanged from a revised 6.9 percent in September and below the year-ago estimate of 8.0 percent.

Figures for Napa showed little net job growth over the year. The only gains were in manufacturing, which added 200 jobs, and the construction and information industries, which added 100 apiece.

Mendocino County's unemployment rate was 8.7 percent in October, down from the 8.8 percent revised rate for September and 9.7 percent from October 2011. Yearly job growth occurred private education and health services and leisure and hospitality, each adding 10 jobs.

The jobless rate in Lake County was 13.8 percent last month, up from a revised 13.4 percent rate the month before and but down from 15.2 percent in October 2011. Employment gains were attributed to information and other services, each with 10 jobs, and private education and health services, adding 20 jobs.

Without the missing 2012 figures from Marin, the North Bay had 2.5 percent growth in employment last month from a year before, increasing 10,110 jobs to 417,780. Marin had 103,800 jobs at the end of 2011, up 1.6 percent or 1,600 positions from a year before.

The October unadjusted unemployment rate was 9.8 percent for California and 7.5 percent for the U.S.