North Bay joblessness lowest in six years

Hiring picked up in April in counties across the North Bay, pushing unemployment rates to the lowest levels since the 2008 economic recession, according to preliminary state figures released Friday.Sonoma County

The jobless rate for Sonoma County fell to 5.3 percent in April from a revised 6.2 percent in March, according to the Employment Development Department. The rate the previous April was 6.7 percent.

This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 7.3 percent for California and 5.9 percent for the nation during the same period.

The estimated county rate in last month was the lowest since 5.0 percent in May 2008 and has been declining since the peak of 11.2 percent in early 2010, according to state figures.[poll id="120"]

Industrial employment over 12 months grew 4.1 percent, or 7,600 positions, to 193,100. Without farming, growth was 4.3 percent, the highest such annual rate of growth in the North Bay last month.

The government sector led the way in yearly hiring, with 4,500 new positions. A portion of those jobs are likely related to the Graton Casino, which is classified in government because its by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. The casino has said it would hire up to 2,000 full-time employees. To that end, special government districts, which include Indian tribes, grew at a yearly pace of 133.3 percent, to 3,500 jobs from 1,500 a year before.

Other yearly gains occurred in trade, transportation and utilities, which added 1,300 jobs, while manufacturing added 600. Construction and professional business services each added 500, while education and health added 300.

Over the month, Sonoma County added 1,700 jobs.Marin County

Marin County continued to post the lowest jobless rate in California, 3.9 percent. That's the county's lowest jobless rate since December 2007.

The revised March rate was 4.7 percent, barely changed from 4.8 percent in April of last year.

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