North Bay bests state, nation in jobs

Five of the six North Bay counties had lower rates of joblessness in December than for California as a whole, and three counties were better off in unemployment than the nation, according to state figures released Friday.

Except for a slight contraction in official estimates for industry employment in Mendocino and Lake counties last year, Sonoma, Solano and Napa counties added 8,900 jobs last year, according to preliminary estimates from the Employment Development Department. Marin County job-growth data isn't yet available.

The unadjusted unemployment rate was 7.9 percent for California and 6.5 percent for the nation last month.Sonoma County

The unemployment rate in the Sonoma County was 5.7 percent in December, down from a revised 6.0 percent in November 2013, and well below the year-ago estimate of 7.8 percent.

The county had 4,700 net new jobs in 2013, up 2.6 percent from 2012, with several industries showing positive growth.  The government sector led the way over the year, adding 1,500 jobs between. Professional services followed in yearly gains, adding 900 jobs, while hospitality and leisure continued to drive growth with 800 jobs over the year. Trade, transportation and utilities and education and health services each added 500 jobs over the year. 

The trades added the most positions over the month, at 300. Sonoma County has the 6th lowest rate in California.Solano County

The unemployment rate in the Solano County was 7.3 percent in December, down from a revised 7.7 percent in November and below the 9.4 percent rate for the previous December.

Job growth for the county last year was 3,600, or 2.9 percent. Leading the way in yearly job growth was the trades and utilities, adding 1,100 jobs, followed closely by hospitality, which added 1,000. Education and health services added 800 jobs, followed by professional services at 400. Financial activities added 300.

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