July 18, 2014

Slight decrease in Merced County jobless rate

Merced County’s unemployment rate declined from the previous month by 0.1 percentage points to 12.3 percent in June, but is down more than 2 percentage points from this time last year, according to numbers released Friday by the Employment Development Department.

The county has seen consistently lower rates compared to 2013, but the announcement last month that hundreds of people in Atwater will lose their AT&T call center jobs hangs like a dark cloud over the good news.

Farm jobs continue to be strong as the summer months are peak season for many farmers. Adding roughly 600 new farm jobs in June went a long way to bringing the jobless rate down, said Pedro Vargas, a labor analyst with EDD. 

The manufacturing sector added 200 jobs, while two other sectors – those related to construction and tourism – added 100 jobs each. Government jobs are down by 300, Vargas said, because schools are on summer break.

More on this in tomorrow's Merced Sun-Star. 

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