Merced County’s unemployment rate continued to improve year over year, falling to 9.5 percent in November compared with 11.2 percent at the same time in 2015, according to labor market analysts.
The improving employment picture came despite a loss of total jobs from October to November this year. The county lost 3,900 jobs from month to month, with 3,300 of them in the seasonal farm labor sector, the Employment Development Department reported on Friday. The same sector counted 500 more jobs in the year-over-year comparison.
November’s jobless rate was the lowest it’s been since 2006, analyst Steven Gutierrez said, and was a marked decrease since unemployment hit a peak of 17.6 percent in 2010. Much of the central San Joaquin Valley has seen a better outlook in recent years.
9.5The percent unemployed in November, according to the EDD
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“We’re just seeing a positive picture of the whole economy in the Valley as well as the state,” Gutierrez said.
There were 1,300 more payroll jobs in Merced County in November compared to a year ago, numbers show. Government added 700 jobs; “leisure and hospitality” counted 300 more jobs; and “educational and health services” employment increased by 200.
Three sectors each tallied 100 more jobs: mining, logging and construction; manufacturing; and financial activities.
Two sectors – one for trade, transportation and utilities and another for professional and business services – each lost 100 jobs.
There were 115,400 workers in the labor force, which includes people working or actively looking for work, an increase of 300 compared to last November.
We’re just seeing a positive picture of the whole economy in the Valley as well as the state.
Steven Gutierrez, analyst with the Employment Development Department
Unemployment fell statewide last month despite modest growth in payrolls, state officials said Friday.
California unemployment dipped to 5.3 percent, a drop of two-tenths of a percentage point, the EDD reported. However, payrolls grew by just 13,600 jobs in November, about a third as many as the month before.
Sung Won Sohn, an economist with California State University, Channel Islands, said the figures suggest California’s economy “has lost some steam.” He said the unemployment rate fell only because the labor force decreased in November.
The Sacramento Bee contributed to this report.