Stanislaus County unemployment rises in January

mrowland@modbee.comMarch 7, 2014 

Stanislaus County’s unemployment rate kicked up in January, following seasonal hiring patterns that see Central Valley jobs drop after the holidays.

While the rate increased to 13.3 percent for the month, up from a revised 12 percent in December, it was still below the 15.3 percent at this time last year, according to a report released Friday by the Employment Development Department. The county’s rate remains significantly higher than the state rate, which fell to 8.1 percent for the month, and more than double the national rate of 6.6 percent.

“It’s very typical for the Stanislaus area to see the unemployment rate have a little tick up from December. The January trend is (that) it usually goes up,” said EDD labor market analyst Nati Martinez. “Month to month, we see the typical seasonal patterns with retail, construction and more all losing jobs.”

The post-holiday drop saw big losses in retail and leisure/hospitality from December to January. But from January 2013 to this January, almost all of the industries either held steady or saw job gains. The sector with the largest year-over-year gain was transportation, warehousing and utilities, which was up 10.1 percent from last year. The increase is most likely due to a new Amazon.com distribution center in Patterson.

Statewide, the jobless rate was also down from a year ago, when it was at 9.5 percent. Since January 2013, the state added 319,500 jobs, a 2.1 percent increase. That year-over-year figure shows job growth is much stronger than previously thought, said Stephen Levy, senior economist for the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto.

“That explains why the unemployment rate was coming down so steadily,” he said of the statewide trend.

Even with the declining unemployment rate, 1.5 million in California’s labor force remained without jobs in January, according to the data. In Stanislaus County, there were 31,600 unemployed.

For those searching for work, two upcoming job fairs could help. On Tuesday, a Modesto HIREvent at the Clarion Inn is billed as offering “hundreds” of opportunities. The Jobs Journal-sponsored event will have representatives from E.&J. Gallo Winery, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Foster Farms, GCU Trucking and more. The fair will be from noon to 4 p.m. at the Clarion, 1612 Sisk Road, Modesto. There is no admission fee. For more, call (888) 843-5627.

On March 14, the BU Universal Group is holding its first Career Expo. The event will hire for the group’s new Social Media Marketing Center and has openings for executive sales, public relations, social media representatives, Web/app designers, bloggers, actors, film crew and drivers. The expo is scheduled from 2 to 5 p.m. at The Seasons, 945 McHenry Ave., Modesto. For more, go to www.buuniversalgroup.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on Twitter @marijkerowland.

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