Unemployment remained relatively stable in Nevada County in December, fluctuating one-tenth of a percentage point since October, part of a California economy that remains near the top of the country’s list of states with high percentages of people seeking jobs.
While Nevada County’s seasonably unadjusted unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point from November’s 8.8 percent to December’s 8.7 percent, a number that matches October’s percentages, California’s jobless rate increased to 9.7 percent in December, up from 9.6 percent in November, according to the state’s Employment Development Department said Friday.
While the state’s unemployment has remained relatively steady since dropping below 10 percent in November for the first time since the beginning of the recession, it ranks third to last nationwide, ahead of only Nevada and Rhode Island — and well behind the national 7.6 percent unadjusted unemployment rate.
“There is no drastic downward trend. It is pretty normal seasonal activity,” said Diane Patterson, a labor market analyst for EDD.
Things are better than a year ago when Nevada County had 9.6 percent unemployment and California’s was 10.9 percent, both unadjusted, according to EDD.
Approximately 1.8 million Californians were unemployed in December, EDD said, slightly below the previous month but down by 255,000 since December of 2011. The unemployment rate then was 11.2 percent.
In Nevada County, 4,390 people were reported to be seeking a job in December — the same as in November. However, the number of people employed increased by nearly 1,000, up to 46,360.
“The labor force went up substantially higher than average,” Patterson said. “It’s showing most growth in leisure and hospitality, more than twice typical advancement … There is a natural seasonal shift in the labor force during the holidays.”
December dropped more than a foot of precipitation on Nevada County, about triple the amount during that same time last year, according to the California Department of Water Resources. That precipitation translated to open ski lifts in eastern Nevada County.
Hospitality and leisure’s segment of the employment demographics added 500 jobs from November to December.
“It’s certainly more positive than a decline,” Patterson said.
Statewide, the department said construction, information and educational and health services fields showed the biggest job gains between November and December.
Still, the department’s surveys showed that statewide nonfarm payroll jobs decreased by 17,500 during December, demonstrating the continued volatility in the labor market, said economist Steven Levy of the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy.
He said the state has made important gains since a year ago as its economy continues to rebound.
“Looking at the past 12 months. California has slightly outpaced the nation in job growth, which is expected to continue in 2013,” he said. “While the state benefits from a surge in technology jobs, a rebound in tourism and rising construction levels, California’s growth is still tied to the uncertainties in the national economy around fiscal challenges and the slower world economy growth.”
Mining and logging, manufacturing, government and other services have continued to see falling job numbers over the last year, losing more than 51,000 jobs, the state report said. Government lost the highest number of jobs, about 31,500, in the last year.
“It’s improving, but we are still far from a complete recovery,”Patterson said.
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