State

June jobless numbers harsh across valley

June saw the unemployment rate in the Central Valley and foothills climb again slightly, after two months of similarly small decreases.

The upward trend follows seasonal work patterns in the area and reflects the continued record-setting jobless rate in California. The U.S. Department of Labor reported Friday that 66,500 Californians lost jobs in June as the state's unemployment rate held steady at 11.6 percent.

In Stanislaus County, the rate went from 16.3 percent in May to 16.6 percent last month. A year ago the county was at 10.7 percent unemployment. Some 40,300 people were out of work across the county in June.

Surrounding San Joaquin, Merced, Tuolumne, Calaveras and Mariposa counties all saw rate increases of 0.1 percent to 0.7 percent.

Although agriculture-related manufacturing gained jobs, education and government saw losses, which are typical this time of year.

Historically, April and May have been spike months in the area's employment, while June brings a dip, to be followed by a climb later in the summer.

The larger picture remained grim as the downturn showed there were 7,500 fewer jobs in Stanislaus County than at this time last year.

"These are all indications that this is a pretty serious economic downturn we're in and not something we'll come out of quickly," said Liz Baker, a labor market analyst for the Employment Development Department.

"Economists are saying there is light at the end of the tunnel, but it's going to take us a while to get there."

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or 578-2284.

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