Jobless rate sees slight increases
Nevada County’s unemployment rate increased slightly to a seasonally unadjusted 7.8 percent in July, up 0.3 percentage points from the previous month.
The increase was even more pronounced statewide, where the jobless rate jumped from an unadjusted 8.9 percent to 9.3 percent between June and July, constituting the first such bump since the spring of 2011, according to Employment Development Department.
Even with July continuing June’s downward trend from May, state labor market analysts point to an overall positive trend as important contextually when viewing the slight unemployment increases.
“It’s definitely a departure from the prevailing trend because we had 23 straight months of decreases,” said Kevin Callori, an EDD spokesman. “We always caution people not to look at a particular month and focus on the trend. We’ve dropped quite a lot since last year.”
July tends to be more volatile because of summer seasonal employment and because recent graduates are seeking jobs, state officials said.
“It is no surprise. For this time of year, it is normal,” said Diane Patterson, an EDD labor market analyst, noting that Nevada County’s jobless figures are two full percentage points better than July 2012.
“We have been seeing year-over(-year) growth for 10 straight months now,” Patterson noted.
Much of the decline can be attributed to a reduction of local governmental jobs, such as teachers and municipal and county workers, Patterson said. From June to July, the local government sector lost 660 jobs, down to 4,570, which is a 12.6 percent decrease, according to EDD’s figures.
“Just as it goes down, we see it come back up as teachers go back to work,” Patterson said. “Local government tends to bottom out in July and peak in August.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Nevada County’s leisure and hospitality industry continued to show increases ahead of the seasonal 23-year historical average, Patterson said. From June to July, 280 jobs were added in that sector of the market — 150 more than average — for a total of 4,380 leisure and hospitality jobs, a 6.8 percent increase for the second straight month of above average additions.
“Most of the industries followed seasonal trends in July,” Patterson said.
California’s unemployment rate continues to exceed the nation as a whole. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped slightly to 7.7 percent for July. Some 1.6 million Californians remained unemployed in July, up by 29,000 over June, but down by 328,000 compared with July of last year.
Unemployment rates rose in 28 states in July and fewer states added jobs, echoing national data that shows the job market may have lost some momentum. Seventeen states reported job losses. California, Georgia and Florida reported the largest job gains, while New Jersey and Nevada lost the most.
Overall, Nevada County shed a total of 480 positions across all sectors, for a 1.7 percent decline to 28,020 jobs.
The number of Nevada County people searching for jobs also decreased, with 180 fewer seeking employment, a 0.4 percent decline to a total of 50,040 job seekers.
While local labor force is nowhere near the July 2007 peak at more than 32,000 total county jobs, it is a marked increase from the July 2009 bottom of 27,830 jobs.
“Since then we have recouped some jobs,” Patterson said. “We are definitely showing sign of recovering, it is just slower in rural areas.”
The Associated Press’ Don Thompson and Christopher Rugaber contributed to this story. To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4236.
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