As unemployment dwindled to ever-lower single-digit rates across the North Bay in February, annual job growth in the six-county region slowed to about 2 percent, according to state figures released Friday.
Sonoma, Solano, Marin, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties each saw a drop of a few 10ths of a percentage point and remain well below year-ago estimates from the California Employment Development Department. After falling in the state ranking of lowest county unemployment rates for several months, Napa gained ground, rising to 10th from 14th.
Two industries adding the most jobs across the region from January were government and education and health services. Government in Sonoma gained 900, in both Napa and Solano 500, and in Marin 400. Education and health services in Solano added the most — 1,400 — followed by Sonoma with 1,100 and Marin with 500.
The biggest sector and county losses for the year were mining, logging and construction, in Napa, losing 700, and in Sonoma, manufacturing in both durable and nondurable goods continues to lose jobs, the only county to do so.
Between December 2016 and January 2017, Sonoma lost 500 jobs in manufacturing, and was down another 100 in February, bottoming out at a loss of 1,500 for the year.
The manufacturing industry accounts for about 14 percent of Sonoma’s workforce, employing about 30,000, according to Ben Stone, Sonoma County Economic Development Board’s executive director. So a loss of 1,500 over the course of a year is not that significant.
About 300-400 of those losses can be attributed to the closing of Santa-Rosa’s Data-Flow, several months. Enphase Energy in Petaluma, and Trivascular in Santa Rosa have also laid off employees, and other explanations could include retirements and automated jobs.
“It all adds up,” Stone said.
SONOMA COUNTYThe unemployment rate in the Sonoma County was 3.8 percent in February, down from a revised 4.1 percent in January and below the year-ago estimate of 4.3 percent.
This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 5.2 percent for California and 4.9 percent for the nation during the same period.
The county again ranked the sixth-lowest jobless rate in the state, preceded by Orange, Santa Clara, San Francisco and Marin tied for second, and San Mateo counties.
The number of Sonoma County nonfarm jobs was 201,300, up 3,200 for the year, or 1.6 percent. Farming employment for the month was up 200, to 5,700, and down 100 for the year, or 1.7 percent.
Leading job-adding industries over the year were professional and business services up 2,000, or 10 percent, to 22,100; educational and health services up 1,100, or 3.3 percent, to 34,100; government, up 900, or 2.8 percent, to 33,100; and construction, up 500, or 4.2 percent, at 12,400.
Job-losing sectors over the year were manufacturing, which includes winemaking, down 1,500, to 20,500; and information, down 100, to 2,700.
SOLANO COUNTYThe unemployment rate in the Solano County was 5.4 percent in February, down from a revised 5.7 percent in January and below the year-ago estimate of 5.8 percent.
Nonfarm job growth over 12 months was up 2,300 positions, or 1.7 percent. Farming jobs were unchanged for the year, with 1,500 jobs.
North Bay jobs picture in February
Unemployment and nonfarm jobs changes over 12 months
Unemployment: 3.8%, down from 4.3%
Job growth: +3,200, 1.6%
Unemployment: 5.4%, down from 5.8%
Job growth: +2,300, 1.7%
Unemployment: 3.0%, down from 3.3%
Job growth: +2,200, 1.9%
Unemployment: 4.2%, down from 4.7%
Job growth: +1,000, 1.4%
Unemployment: 5.4%, down from 6.0%
Job growth: +330, 1.1%
Unemployment: 6.6%, down from 7.6%
Job growth: +580, 3.9%
Source: California Employment Development Department