Stanislaus County unemployment inches upward

Unemployment in Stanislaus County remained flat as the jobless rate inched up slightly to 16.2, where it was a year ago this month.

The small increase, from a revised 16.1 percent for September, reflects the state’s stagnant unemployment picture as well where for the third month in a row unemployment was at 12.4 percent.

Surrounding counties saw their rates remain relatively steady as well, from 16.3 percent in Merced to 10.8 percent in Mariposa.

Still, the statewide numbers showed some positive signs. California saw a net increase of 39,000 non-farm jobs in October, with growth in eight categories, including construction, manufacturing and educational and health services, according to figures released Friday.

The area of professional and business services posted the biggest gains, adding 14,800 jobs.

The concentration of gains in professional and business services, which includes high-paying technical and scientific jobs, was a promising sign, said Stephen Levy, senior economist for the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.

“This is the first very good jobs report we’ve had,” he said.

The state Employment Development Department reported that the number of unemployed people dropped by 10,000 people in October to about 2.26 million. Meanwhile, new claims for unemployment fell from about 75,000 in September to 67,000 in October.

The state’s unemployment rate has now held at or above 12 percent for 15 months. It continues to be higher than the national average, which also held steady at 9.6 percent in October.