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Modesto-area unemployment rates rise

The Central Valley and foothills unemployment rates rose in November, as expected, as the area’s job prospects cooled during the winter months.

Stanislaus County’s jobless hit 17.2 percent, just shy of the year-to-date high it reached in March of 17.5 percent, according to date released by the Employment Development Department.

Surrounding counties also saw jumps anywhere from just shy of 2 percentage points for Merced to as little as .3 percent in Tuolumne.

The area’s spikes come as the state’s unemployment rate fell slightly for November — down to 12.3 percent from 12.5 percent a month earlier. California was among 36 states that saw unemployment fall last month, but it remains among the worst-off states for jobs, tying for third-highest unemployment with Nevada and South Carolina. Only Michigan and Rhode Island were higher, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The improvement in California’s overall unemployment rate comes despite the loss of another 10,200 jobs in November, according to a survey of employers.

More than 2.2 million Californians were without work in November. The number does not include the nearly 500,000 workers who have taken low-paying or part-time jobs because that’s all they could find, or the 111,000 people who reported having given up looking for work, according to the state.

The bureau says California, with the nation’s highest population, also led the U.S. in job losses in the last year, with 617,000 jobs gone.

Five categories, including the battered construction industry, saw job growth over the last month: mining and logging, information, professional and business services, and other services added a total of 13,500 jobs, EDD said.

But those gains were offset by the loss of 23,700 jobs in manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, financial activities, educational and health services, leisure and hospitality, and government.

Imperial County in Southern California had the highest unemployment rate in the state at 29.2 percent. Marin County’s rate was the lowest, at 8 percent.

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