For the second month in a row, Stanislaus County and most of the surrounding counties saw slight deceases in unemployment rates, according to the state Employment Development Department.
The small dips follow a historical decline in the jobless numbers for the month, driven largely by an increase in agricultural work. Stanislaus County went from 16.8 percent in April to 16.3 percent in May. But the county’s unemployment rate is still considerably higher than this time last year, when it was at 10.5 percent.
San Joaquin County dropped from 15.6 percent in April to 15 percent in May, Merced from 18.3 percent to 17.3 percent, Tuolumne from 12.2 percent to 11.9 percent and Mariposa from 11.3 percent to 10.2 percent.
Calaveras was the only area county to show a slight increase, from 13.5 percent to 13.6 percent.
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In Stanislaus County, the numbers reflect a seasonal spike in farm work. That goes hand-in-hand with an uptick in manufacturing jobs, primarily food processing.
The valley and foothills fared better than the overall state which says its unemployment rate climbed to 11.5 percent in May, the highest in modern record-keeping.