Stanislaus Countys unemployment rate stayed at 12.2 percent in December, which is nearly double the national average.
Despite Stanislaus flat jobless rate, the total number of county residents with jobs declined by 1,100 between November and December, according to government estimates released Friday.
That wasnt the case for California as a whole. The state added several thousand jobs during the month, which helped its unemployment rate dip to 7.9 percent, Employment Development Department data shows.
Heres another way Stanislaus is different from the rest of California: Stanislaus had 204,500 residents who worked last month, but there were only 163,300 jobs within the county. That 41,200-job gap meant Stanislaus residents commuted outside the county for work.
The opposite was true for San Francisco. Only 461,200 of that citys residents worked during December, but San Francisco employers had more than 1 million workers.
That helps explain why San Franciscos 4.8 percent unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the state, while Stanislaus 12.2 percent rate is among the highest.
Merced Countys is worse: 14.2 percent. That was up from 13.6 percent in November, but it is better than the 16.7 percent unemployment during December 2012.
San Joaquin Countys 12.1 percent unemployment rate was down from Novembers 12.3 percent and the previous years 14.7 percent.
Stanislaus unemployment rate also was 14.7 percent a year ago, so progress has been made. There were 2,200 more Stanislaus residents working this December than the year before.
Credit farm jobs for increasing Stanislaus workforce.
Farms added 700 jobs compared to last year, which is a good increase, said Nati Martinez, an EDD labor market analyst.
Stanislaus transportation, warehousing and utilities sector also added 700 jobs. Amazon.com Inc.s Patterson distribution center, which created several hundred jobs when it opened this fall, is one reason for that, Martinez said.
Eight hundred additional leisure and hospitality jobs also were added during the year, but Martinez said she didnt know what exactly triggered that.
On the losing side of the ledger, there were 1,500 fewer construction jobs in Stanislaus this December than the year before. One thing is for sure: That loss wasnt because it was too rainy to build things.
Construction has been very slow in coming back, Martinez said.
Only about 4,600 people worked construction jobs in Stanislaus last month. Thats less than one-third the number of construction workers employed during the 2005 peak of the countys building boom.
While very few new homes have been built recently in Stanislaus, Martinez said there were some big commercial construction projects a year ago. That included Amazons Patterson facility and Blue Diamond Growers processing plant in Turlock, which opened in June.
We just dont have those kind (of building projects) happening right now, Martinez said.
Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2196.