Stanislaus County’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in six years this August, dropping to 10.2 percent of the active workforce.
That’s still well above California’s 7.4 percent rate and the nation’s 6.3 percent rate. But it’s a big improvement from August 2013 when 12 percent of Stanislaus workers were jobless, employment statistics show.
The last time Stanislaus’ unemployment rate dipped below 11 percent was September 2008, which was near the start of the Great Recession. Employment opportunities dwindled after that, pushing Stanislaus’ unemployment as high as 18.8 percent in 2010.
It has been a slow comeback for jobs since then, but the unemployment rate gradually has been edging down.
Food manufacturing jobs can be thanked for last month’s employment boost in the county. With the start of the canning season, an estimated 12,800 people worked during August in food-processing plants. That was 2,800 more than during July.
There were 400 fewer food-processing jobs last month than there were in August 2013, however, as employment opportunities in that industry continue to shrink.
What’s increasing in Stanislaus are transportation and warehousing jobs, and that sector will get another big boost next year when Restoration Hardware opens its massive new distribution center in Patterson.
How many people that 1.5 million-square-foot warehouse will employ has not been announced, but 371 parking spaces are being built.
The hiring process for Restoration Hardware managers has just begun, with at least five top-level Patterson openings now being advertised on the company’s website, www.rh.com.
Stanislaus transportation and warehousing jobs have increased nearly 10 percent during the last year, in part because of the giant Amazon fulfillment center that opened last fall, also in Patterson.
As of August, there were 7,900 transportation and warehousing jobs in the county, which is about 700 more than a year ago, according to Employment Development Department statistics.
Retail trade jobs also have increased – up by 500 since last year – and more of them are coming.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is opening a new store in Monte Vista Crossings in Turlock this fall, and it expects to hire about 50 full- and part-time employees.
Temporary jobs also are being advertised for that store at www.dickssportinggoods.jobs.