Stanislaus jobless rate flat in May and June

07/18/2014 1:05 PM

07/18/2014 5:18 PM

Stanislaus County’s unemployment rate held steady at 11.1 percent in June, the same as it was in May, government officials reported Friday.

That’s still an improvement from June 2013, when 13.3 percent of Stanislaus’ workforce couldn’t find a job.

Merced County’s rate dropped to 12.3 percent last month, slightly better than in May.

San Joaquin County’s rate rose to 10.5 percent, slightly worse than May.

The unemployment news statewide is good. California’s jobless rate dipped to 7.4 percent in June, its lowest level in six years.

The state gained 24,200 jobs during the month, bringing the total to more than 1.35 million jobs added since February 2010, when the jobless number hit a peak of 12.4 percent, the Employment Development Department said.

Education and health services posted the largest increases in June, adding 12,200 jobs for the month. Construction posted the biggest loss, with 9,500 fewer jobs.

The health sector gains may be driven by President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul as the program expands insurance coverage, said Michael Bernick, a former director of the employment department.

“While I am pleased that California’s employment rates continue to improve, we cannot forget that counties such as the ones I represent are still suffering from double-digit unemployment,” Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, said in a prepared statement. “Our state's terrible drought has cost billions of dollars and tens of thousands of agricultural jobs. The small businesses and families impacted by this tragedy have not yet had an opportunity to recover from the Great Recession, and they need state leaders to focus on policies that will spur economic growth.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to make California worthy of investment once more by reducing costs on employers, streamlining bureaucracy, improving education, increasing water supply and making government more transparent and efficient.”

California’s jobless rate remained above the national average of 6.1 percent.

A federal survey of households shows that more than 300,000 jobs have been added since June 2013, and about 1.4 million people remain unemployed.

The unemployment figures do not include people who have stopped looking for work.

Despite its economic progress, California was still tied with Washington, D.C., for the fourth-highest U.S. unemployment rate. Only Rhode Island (7.9), Nevada (7.7) and Michigan (7.5) had higher unemployment rates.

The coastal areas of California continued to see low unemployment rates, especially in the Bay Area, where San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties were at 4.5 percent or less.

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