North Bay jobs growth continues in April as unemployment ebbs

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Unemployment rates decreased in April across all six North Bay counties, and job growth for the region continued its upward trend, according to new state figures.

A notable change for local estimates of joblessness was in Marin County, where the rate budged slightly down for the first time since November, according to monthly estimates released May 20 by the state Employment Development Department. All counties also remain well below the unemployment rates of the previous year.

In industries the agency tracks, the six-county region had an estimated net gain of 17,700 jobs over 12 months, up 2.0 percent to almost 582,000 jobs. When looked at with a three-month moving average to smooth out seasonal spikes, annual job growth for the North Bay was 3.1 percent last month.

Leisure and hospitality has made big job gains for the year in Sonoma and Napa counties, while construction jobs surged in Solano and Marin counties. Educational and health services had big job gains in all North Bay counties except Napa, which remained unchanged, as more people are insured under the Affordable Care Act, and hospitals and medical facilities are increasing their staff.


The preliminary unemployment rate for Sonoma was 3.8 percent in April, down from a revised 4.1 percent in March and below the estimate of 4.3 percent in April 2015. This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 5.2 percent for California last month and 4.7 percent for the nation.

The county’s joblessness rate was the fifth-lowest among 58 counties in the state. That’s after Santa Clara, second-placers San Francisco and Marin, and No. 1 San Mateo. Napa, San Luis Obispo and Orange were tied for No. 6.

The number of Sonoma County nonfarm jobs for the month increased 5,100 for the year, or 2.6 percent, to 201,300. Farming employment for the month was 5,300, down 1,000, or 15.9 percent, for the year.

Leading job-adding industries over the year were education and health services, up 1,200 jobs, or 3.8 percent, to 33,200; leisure and hospitality, up 1,100 jobs, or 4.5 percent, to 25,500; and local government up 900 jobs, or 3.5 percent, to 26,800.

Job-losing industries in the last 12 months were state government, excluding education, down 200, or 7.4 percent, to 2,500, and state government, down 100, or 1.9 percent, to 5,200.

A major sector that remained unchanged over 12 months was construction, with 11,300 jobs.


The unemployment rate in Solano was 5.3 percent in April, down from a revised 5.6 percent in March and below the year-before estimate of 6.0 percent.

Nonfarm job growth was 4,000 positions, or 3.1 percent, to 135,000. Farm employment remained unchanged for the year, with 1,600 jobs.

Job-gaining industries over 12 months were construction, up 1,000 jobs, or 11.9 percent, to 9,400; trade, transportation and utilities, led by retail, up 900 jobs, or 3.4 percent, to 27,300; educational and health services, up 1,000 jobs, or 4 percent, to 26,000; and manufacturing, up 4.3 percent, or 500 jobs, to 12,000.

There were no major job-losing industries for the year, the state said.


The unemployment rate in Marin was 3.1 percent in April, down from a revised 3.2 percent in March and under the 3.4 percent estimate for April 2015.

Total nonfarm jobs for the year increased by 4,100, or 3.7 percent, to 116,200, and farm jobs remained unchanged at 400.

Job-gaining industries over 12 months were professional and business services, up 1,000, or 5.5 percent, to 19,300; education and health services, up 800, or 4 percent, to 21,000; and trade, transportation and utilities, up 700, or 3.9 percent, to 18,800.

The only job-losing sector for the year was financial activities, down 100 to 6,300.


Napa County’s unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in April, down from a revised 4.4 percent in March and 4.2 percent the previous April.

Nonfarm jobs were 72,400 last month, up 2,500, or 3.6 percent, over 12 months. Total farm jobs were 6,000, down 100, or 1.6 percent, for the year.

Job-gaining industries over 12 months were leisure and hospitality, up 1,000, or 8.1 percent, to 13,300; manufacturing, which includes winemaking, up 500, or 4.3 percent, to 12,200; and trade, transportation and utilities, up 300, or 3 percent, to 10,200.

Several industries remained unchanged over 12 months, including educational and health services, federal, county and city government, and information. The only job-losing industry was farming.


Mendocino’s preliminary April unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, down 0.8 percentage points from the revised March rate of 6.0 percent and down 0.5 percentage points from 5.7 percent in April 2015. Mendocino’s unemployment rank statewide rose to No. 20 from No. 26 in March.

Farm jobs over 12 months dropped by 160, or 11 percent, to 1,300, and nonfarm jobs increased 320, or 1 percent, to 30,850.

Job-gaining industries for the year were education and health services, up 130, at 2.4 percent, to 5,630; leisure and hospitality, up 120, at 2.8 percent, to 4,340; and manufacturing, up 70, at 2.8 percent, to 2,550.

Losses for the year were professional and business services, down 70, to 1,640, and government, down 30, to 7,340.


Lake’s unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in April, down from a revised 7.3 percent in March and 7.5 percent the previous April. Yet the county fell one spot to No. 32 in the state.

Total farm jobs were down 200 over 12 months to 890, a decrease of 18.3 percent. Total nonfarm jobs were 370 for the year, or 2.5 percent, to 15,150.

One of the largest gains in employment for the year was service-providing, adding 360 jobs and bringing industry employment to 14,370, up 2.6 percent. Also gaining for the year were education and health services, up 220, or 5 percent, to 4,600, and local government, up 110, or 2.9 percent, to 3,960.

Job-losing industries over the year was transportation, warehousing and utilities, down 5.6 percent to 510, and professional and business services, down 3.8 percent to 500.

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