North Bay joblessness rises, job growth slows in June

The rates of joblessness in five North Bay counties were below the statewide level of 7.4 percent, and year-over-year job growth rates bested or matched California-wide growth of 2.4 percent, according to the Employment Development Department.

California added 356,400 nonfarm jobs in the previous 12 months.

The statewide joblessness rate eased from a revised 7.6 percent in May but was well below the 9.0 percent rate the previous June.

The state reported that the proportion of North Bay residents seeking jobs edged upward and job growth rates slowed. A significant seasonal factor in the June figures is the release of education-related workers at the end of the school year, so accounting for that would show a slight decrease in jobless rates in all North Bay counties but Lake, according to Robert Eyler, a professor in the Sonoma State University Economics Department and director of director of the Center for Regional Economic Analysis. A reverse of that trend is seen in September after the next school year begins.Sonoma County

In the North Bay's most populous county, the jobless rate was estimated to be 5.3 percent in June. That's up from a revised rate of 5.0 percent in May but below the 7.0 percent level for Sonoma County of a year before.

The number of industry jobs grew 3.5 percent year over year through last month, up 6,700 jobs to 195,900.

Leading job growth were local government, up 2,300 positions over 12 months thanks to 1,900 more jobs from Indian tribes, a boost attributed mainly to the opening of Graton Resort & Casino in November; local education, 1,900, or 14.7 percent, over 12 months; administrative and support services, 1,200, or 14.6 percent; general merchandise stores, 400, or 12.1 percent; manufacturing, particularly of nondurable goods such as food and beverages, 600, or 3.0 percent; and construction, 200, or 2.0 percent.

Annual job growth slowed in four North Bay counties in the past few months, based on analysis of state figures. Such figures for Marin County aren't yet available for this year, but annual job growth for the county from mid-2012 through 2013 had been 3 percent--4 percent.

Likewise, Sonoma County's year-over-year growth has averaged 4 percent, since growth swung significantly positive in mid-2012. If Sonoma County's rate of job growth were to continue, its number of industry jobs could be back to the October 2006 peak of 201,800 by next spring.

By January 2010, which economists point to as the start of the U.S. recovery, Sonoma County's total industry employment had fallen by 30,800, or 15.3 percent.

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