Unemployment rates in the six North Bay counties edged upward or remained unchanged in December, according to state figures, as lower employment in farming and processing winegrapes after the harvest helped offset hiring in retail for the holidays.Sonoma County

[caption id="attachment_67708" align="alignright" width="300"] Sonoma County jobs vs. job growth, January 2001-December 2012 (click to enlarge)[/caption]

While Sonoma County's jobless rate remained unchanged between November and December, at 7.7 percent, it was lower than last year's rate of 9 percent, according to the Employment Development Department.Over the year, the county easily outpaced others in the region with positive job growth. Annual growth was 4.7 percent and 8,100 jobs in a number of industries in December.

[caption id="attachment_67716" align="alignleft" width="300"] Sonoma County manufacturing jobs vs job growth, January 2001-December 2012 (click to enlarge)[/caption]

Significant gains occurred in manufacturing, which added 1,400 jobs, education and health services, adding 1,300, trade, transportation and utilities, adding 1,100.The government sector added 1,200 jobs. Professional and business services and construction added 900 and 800 jobs, respectively, while financial activities posted 300 over the year. The county's workforce across all industries grew by 4.7 percent over the year.Solano County

[caption id="attachment_67709" align="alignleft" width="300"] Solano County jobs vs. job growth, January 2001-December 2012 (click to enlarge)[/caption]

In Solano County, the December rate was 9.3 percent, unchanged from November but below last year's rate of 10.4 percent.The county added 1,900 jobs over the year, a growth rate of 1.6 percent. Hospitality as well as trade, transportation and utilities led the way with 700 more jobs apiece, while education and health services added 600. Construction and professional services each added 300 jobs, while the government sector shed 800 positions over the year.Napa County

[caption id="attachment_67713" align="alignright" width="300"] Napa County jobs vs job growth, January 2001-December 2012 (click to enlarge)[/caption]

Napa County's rate in December edged up to 7.9 percent from a revised 7.5 percent in November, below last year's estimate of 8.8 percent.Over the year, the county lost 200 jobs, though some industries posted small yearly gains, among them: manufacturing, which added 200, and information, leisure and hospitality, and construction, all of which added 100 jobs a piece.Manufacturing, which includes wine production, shed 200 positions between November and December in Napa County.Marin CountyMarin County continued to post the lowest unemployment rate in California, at 5.5 percent.Industry specifics aren't yet available for Marin, which is part of a three-county region that includes San Mateo and San Francisco counties.Mendocino County

[caption id="attachment_67718" align="alignleft" width="300"] Mendocino County jobs vs job growth, January 2001-December 2012 (click to enlarge)[/caption]

Mendocino County's jobless rate edged upward to 9.5 percent in December from 9.1 percent in November, but fell over the year from 10.2 percent. The December rate, however, was the lowest the county posted since 2008, when it was 8.7 percent.Year-over-year job growth occurred in hospitality, which added 80 jobs, professional and business services, which added 40, and private education and health services, which added 30. Those gains were offset by yearly losses in trade, transportation and utilities, which lost 130 and government, which lost 110.Lake County

[caption id="attachment_67719" align="alignright" width="300"] Lake County jobs vs job growth, January 2001-December 2012 (clilck to enlarge)[/caption]

Lake County's rate in December crept up to 15.1 percent, from November's rate of 14.6 percent, but was well below last year's estimate of 16 percent.Yearly losses occurred in government, which shed 700 positions, hospitality, at 100, construction at 30, and professional and business services, at 10. Slight gains were posted in trade, transportation and utilities and health and education services, at 10 apiece, and other services, at 20.

Statewide, the unemployment rate was 9.8 percent, the same as the previous month. The state gained 225,900 jobs over the year with the largest gains reported in leisure and hospitality and information.

 Nationally, the jobless rate was 7.6 in December.Unemployment rates for North Bay countiesCountyDecember





2012State rank

(out of 58)Lake16.0%14.6%15.1%50Marin5.8% 6.4% 5.5%1Mendocino10.8%9.1%9.5%20Napa8.8%7.5%7.9%9Solano10.4% 9.3% 9.3%18 Sonoma9.0% 7.7% 7.7% 8 California11.2% 9.8% 9.8% --U.S.8.5% 7.8% 7.6% --

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