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Merced unemployment rate in January slightly better than a year ago

About 170 people, including 65 veterans, gathered at the American Legion Hall in Merced to speak with employers during a job fair Thursday, March 13, 2014.
About 170 people, including 65 veterans, gathered at the American Legion Hall in Merced to speak with employers during a job fair Thursday, March 13, 2014. tmiller@mercedsunstar.com

Despite a seasonal rise in the unemployment numbers, Merced County’s 12.6 percent rate in January was four-tenths of a percent lower than a year ago, labor market analysts said Friday.

There were 1,700 more jobs in the county in January than the same time last year, including 400 more seasonal farm labor jobs, according to the Employment Development Department.

The manufacturing and “educational and health services” sectors each had 600 more jobs in Merced County in January than a year ago.

The government sector tallied 400 fewer jobs and “professional and business services” counted 200 fewer than a year ago, EDD said.

California’s job growth continued its sluggish pace in January, although the Golden State’s unemployment rate fell a tenth of a percentage point to 5.1 percent.

12.6 percentJanuary unemployment rate in Merced County

The state EDD report said California added 9,700 jobs in January.

That was actually an improvement over the addition of only 3,700 jobs to close out the year in December, when the statewide jobless rate was 5.2 percent.

By comparison, the nation’s unemployment rate increased 0.1 percent in January to 4.8 percent.

Of the state’s 42,700 job gains in January, the educational and health services sector saw the largest jump, adding 19,800 jobs. The professional and business segment saw a gain of 12,500 jobs.

EDD said the trade, transportation and utilities sector shed 21,100 jobs of the 33,000 statewide job declines in January.

EDD noted that California has gained nearly 2.5 million jobs since economic expansion began in February 2010.

The Sacramento Bee contributed to this report.

Thaddeus Miller: 209-385-2453, @thaddeusmiller

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