MODESTO -- The Stanislaus County unemployment rate was hung at 15.7 percent for July, the same as the revised rate for June.
The jobless rate has hovered in the same place for three months, dropping off a high of 17.4 percent over the winter, according to statistics released today by the California Employment Development Department.
"It's still mostly the seasonal factors influencing the rate. The numbers are pretty customary for this time of year," said Nati Martinez, labor market analyst for the EDD. "But our year over is looking brighter, with a lot less red ink."
This time last year, the unemployment rate in the county sat at 17.1 percent.
This month also saw significant growth in the long-hammered construction industry. Some 600 construction jobs were added in July compared with last July. It is the largest year-to-year improvement for the industry since the recession started.
"Construction is standing out as a stalwart sector for the county," said Jeff Michael, director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. "It's something we anticipated, given the depths of its decline. But it's starting to come back some now and we're seeing that."
Still, improvements in construction and other private sector industries continue to be offset by big losses in government.
Michael said that in the past few years, the large dip in government jobs in July has made analyzing the numbers more tricky. Much of the drop can be attributed to the fluctuation in public school employee rolls large numbers of workers get pink slips after the school year ends and then some are rehired in the fall.
"The usual seasonal declines in government have been even bigger recently," Michaels said. "And I don't know if local government cuts have bottomed out yet, like the numbers have in other sectors. They are still declining."
Indeed, government saw the largest losses in July, dropping 700 jobs month-to-month, mostly in the education sector. Government numbers were down 200 jobs from last year.
Also following seasonal trends, manufacturing had the strongest month-to-month gains, adding 900 jobs, most of those in food manufacturing. Year-to-year, manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; and professional and business services added 300 jobs each.
No change at state level
The county's flat rate followed the same trend as the state, which remained unchanged from June at 10.7 percent. Nationally, the jobless rate was 8.3 percent in July, up from 8.2 percent in June.
The Labor Department said unemployment rates rose in 44 U.S. states, the most states to show a monthly increase in more than three years.
Unemployment fell in just two states; California was one of four states in which month-to-month jobless rates were unchanged.
"The state continues to outperform the nation when it comes to job growth," Michael said. "But that's obviously been slow to arrive in this area."
The Sacramento Bee contributed to this report.
Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2284.