County unemployment figures show small decrease from August to September
The Nevada County unemployment rate dropped from 8% in August to 7.4% in September, according to data provided by the state California Employment Development Department.
For the second consecutive month, Nevada County is 14th in the state in employment rate. The statewide unemployment rate for September was 10.8%, a decrease from 11.6% in August.
All categories are still experiencing decreased employment numbers relative to this time last year, except for one — mining, logging, and construction — which is estimated to have seen a 1.2% increase, or about 40 additional people employed, since September 2019.
“Construction has been very strong in the last couple of years, but when COVID happened, we all expected to have a downturn,” said Barbara Bashall, executive director of the Nevada County Contractors’ Association. “Well, the opposite actually happened.”
She said the county has seen a “huge increase” in construction, adding, “All of the contractors are extremely busy, they’re hiring, (and) in fact, they can’t even find enough people to work for them.”
In response to this, Bashall said the association sustains long-term collaboration with local high schools in strengthening career technical education, encouraging youth to pursue career paths in construction.
She added that some of the boost in construction activity — and therefore employment opportunities — as the pandemic goes on can be attributed to construction of new homes as people move to Nevada County, but that much of it has also been due to existing Nevada County residents taking on new projects and remodeling ventures on their homes this year.
Overall, industry-specific employment figures in Nevada County remained fairly stable month-to-month for the first time since general unemployment spiked from March to April. All but one category — federal government — rose or fell by less than 5% from August to September. Several industry categories, including manufacturing, professional and business services, and educational and health services, are estimated to have had no change in employment numbers between these two months.
EDD MAKING PROGRESS
The California Employment Development Department announced in a release last week that backlog — estimated last month to include over 590,000 unprocessed or incomplete claims — has dropped after the department took a two-week pause in new claims.
The backlog, according to the release, has declined 32% for initial claims taking over three weeks to issue first payment, and 24% for claims which have already issued payment and are in a waiting period.
The department also said its ID.me identity verification tool, implemented Oct. 5, “is helping thwart any new fraud schemes while the department is zeroing in on previous organized fraud schemes,” adding that it will be collaborating with investigators and the Bank of America in examining cases showing key fraud indicators, including excessive claims at the same address.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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