Spike in Nevada County jobless rate | TheUnion.com

Spike in Nevada County jobless rate

While Nevada County’s labor force dropped slightly, it’s unemployment rate rose marginally from September to October, according to the Nevada County Employment Development Department.

The unemployment rate increased two-tenths of a percentage point to 8.7 percent in October from September’s 8.5 percent amid a reduced civilian labor force that lost approximately 550 workers.

“Looking at the labor force, it is very common for the unemployment rate to remain pretty unaffected this time of year,” said Diane Patterson, a labor market analyst for Employment Development Department (EDD).

“Usually a flat unemployment rate is a product of labor force and employment rate going down — largely affected by students returning to school and leaving the labor force,” Patterson said. “It may not be the only thing driving those numbers, but it is likely due to shifts in school commitment.”

The county’s September revised unemployment rate matched its initially projected figures last month.

California continued its economic recovery as the statewide unemployment rate dipped to 10.1 percent in October, led by increases in private sector jobs such as construction, retail and well paying professional work.

The state added 48,500 nonfarm jobs last month compared with September, and the jobless rate dipped a tenth of a percent in one month, according to the California Employment Development Department.

About 14.4 million people were working.

“The private sector is adding a healthy number of jobs,” department spokesman Kevin Callori said. “Definitely some good trends (are) being seen.”

The department also sharply revised previous figures, showing that California gained 32,000 jobs in September instead of 8,500.

California’s jobless rate has fallen 1.4 percent since October of last year as the state added 295,300 nonfarm jobs.

Nationwide, applications for benefits rose 78,000, mostly because a large number were filed in storm-damaged states. Superstorm Sandy drove the number of people seeking unemployment benefits up to a seasonally adjusted 439,000 last week, the highest level in 18 months.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications increased by 78,000 mostly because a large number of applications were filed in states damaged by the storm. People can claim unemployment benefits if their workplaces close and they don’t get paid.

The storm has affected the claims data for the past two weeks and may distort reports for another two weeks, the department has said.

While Nevada County’s unemployment rate was slightly higher in October than the previous month, it was down 1.5 percentage points from this same time last year.

“Even though it is up a little bit, it’s a small fluctuation, and hopefully we continue to trend down,” Patterson said.

Overall, California continues an economic turnaround that began in February 2010. The state has gained nearly 575,000 jobs since then, Callori said.

It was the 16th consecutive month of private job growth.

Construction added 4,100 jobs in October and some 27,700 jobs over 12 months.

“Compared to recession years, that’s very good because we were losing many, many jobs each month,” Callori said.

The category of trade, transportation and utilities gained the largest monthly increase, adding 24,700 jobs.

Also leading job growth were the sectors of manufacturing; professional and business services; educational and health services; and leisure and hospitality.

Just about the only industries to add county jobs in the last month were educational and health services, as well as the government sector.

By contrast, the statewide economy bit deep in the public sector. There were additional job losses in government, which lost 8,600 jobs for a total of 76,500 eliminated since the 2010 turnaround.

Job declines also were reported in the area of mining and logging; information; and financial activities.

Although California’s job growth rate outpaced the U.S. as a whole, its unemployment rate remains far higher.

The U.S. jobless rate was 7.9 percent in October, up from 7.8 percent in the previous month, as more Americans began looking for work.

The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively searching for work.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email crosacker@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4236.

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