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Stanislaus County reports slight unemployment increase

Job seekers fill out forms as they wait to enter a job fair in Modesto last year. Data showed total growth of 1,400 jobs for Stanislaus County last month.
Job seekers fill out forms as they wait to enter a job fair in Modesto last year. Data showed total growth of 1,400 jobs for Stanislaus County last month. Modesto Bee file

The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County rose slightly to 9.6 percent in March – up 0.3 percent compared with the prior month but down 1.1 percent from last year, according to state Employment Development Department data released Friday.

The EDD reported a March unemployment rate of 5.6 percent for California and 5.1 percent for the United States.

Nati Martinez, EDD labor market consultant for the Modesto area, said although it’s not uncommon to see a slight uptick in unemployment from February to March, the county economy overall is showing strong year-to-year job growth.

“We are looking at a stronger and more consistent growth pattern,” Martinez said.

The data showed total growth of 1,400 jobs for Stanislaus County in March. Farm jobs that month remained fixed compared to February, and went down 6.7 percent compared with last year. The educational and health services field reported a loss of 200 jobs countywide.

Leisure and hospitality jobs continued to increase in March, with 600 jobs added to the county economy. Those jobs typically are at businesses related to arts and entertainment, recreation, accommodations and food services.

Job increases also were reported in the trade, transportation and utilities industry, with 500 jobs added in March, according to the data.

Regionally, in Merced County, the unemployment numbers were unchanged in March at 12.5 percent compared to the prior month, and 1 percent lower than last year.

San Joaquin County reported an 8.8 percent unemployment rate in March, up from 8.7 percent in February and down from 9.9 percent at the same time last year.

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