MERCED -- Improvements to Merced County's employment figures in May were reversed by June's numbers, which were released by the state Friday.
The unemployment rate increased to 17.8 percent in June, up from a revised 17.2 percent in May. The original May figure was 17.3 percent.
From May to June, nonfarm employment fell by 600 jobs, said Pedro Vargas, a labor market analyst for the Employment Development Department. Farm jobs posted an increase of 300.
Among the sectors that posted a decline in jobs was government, which lost 200 positions in Merced County, Vargas said. A loss of 400 jobs in state government was countered by a gain of 100 jobs in local government and a gain of 100 jobs in federal government.
The tough job market in Merced hasn't deterred hundreds of job seekers from using what's available to them.
Michelle Allison, program manager at the Merced office of Worknet of Merced County, said every day more than 100 people come into the office at 1880 Wardrobe Ave. to search for jobs.
Worknet, a county department that offers training and services aimed at getting people back to work, also has an office Los Banos at 800 Seventh St. The centers don't charge for services, which are paid for through grants and federal and state funds.
Allison said the demeanor of people who come into Worknet to find a job varies.
"You have a mixture," she said. "You have some people that are very, very hopeful and some that are frustrated."
Many workers have realized that they need a career change to get back to work, Allison noted, adding that there are several programs available at Worknet to retrain people.
Worknet is offering a computer literacy class from 1 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Also, a "Conversational Spanish for the Workplace" course will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Allison said.
The classes are offered in conjunction with Merced Adult School.
Worknet also offers Rosetta Stone, career assessments, and classroom and online computer training for various vocational certificates, Allison said.
For more information and to review job listings, visit www.mercedworknet.com.
Merced is the fourth-worst county in California for unemployment -- 89,000 people are employed out of a work force of 108,400, according to state data.
The city of Merced's unemployment rate in June was 17.6 percent. In Atwater, the rate was 18.1 percent. Livingston and Los Banos were at 20.5 percent and 18.7 percent, respectively.
The jobless rate in June was 8.4 percent in the nation and 10.7 percent in the state.
Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.