Merced County unemployment rate ticks up in June

07/19/2013 11:51 AM

07/19/2013 6:10 PM

Merced County’s unemployment ticked up in June, with government jobs taking the biggest hit. According to the state’s Employment Development Department, area unemployment for June was 14.1 percent, up from 13.6 percent in May. It’s still better news than last year at this time, when unemployment was 17.3 percent.

Statewide, California continued its economic recovery as its unemployment rate slid to 8.5 percent, the lowest it has been in nearly five years.

Employers’ payrolls grew by 30,200 jobs, helping push down the jobless rate from 8.6 percent in May, according to data released Thursday.

The Golden State has outpaced the overall U.S. in job creation over much of the last year, and its turnaround has been swift. Since June 2012, the state’s nonfarm employment has grown 1.8 percent, adding nearly 254,000 jobs.

“The numbers are moving in the right direction,” said Esmael Adibi, director of Chapman University’s A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research. “It should get even better as we get through the year.” Job gains were notched across six sectors. The trade, transportation and utilities sector led hiring last month, adding 13,200 jobs. That sector includes wholesale and retail trade, indicating that consumers have been driving the recent economic expansion.

That supports the recent consumer confidence report issued by the Conference Board. Consumer sentiment in June jumped to its highest level since January 2008. Shoppers have been splurging again as housing prices rise and the labor market improves, economists said.

But the recovery wasn’t across the board.

Five sectors shed jobs in June. Among them was the professional and business services sector, which lost 3,300 jobs. That industry includes high-paying occupations such as architects and lawyers. The construction and financial activities sector also showed small declines, losing 1,700 and 2,500 jobs respectively.

The California jobs report, though positive, showed that a large number of positions created in June were in low-paying industries, many of them part-time jobs. The leisure and hospitality industry, one of the fastest-growing segments of the economy, added 9,700 jobs last month.

We will have more on this story later today.

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