Unemployment rate here dips below state, nation | TheUnion.com

Unemployment rate here dips below state, nation

Nevada County’s unemployment rate in December came in below that of November and was lower than that of the state and nation.

The unemployment rate in the county was 4.5 percent last month, down from 4.6 percent in November, and the same as it was in December 2002, according to the state Employment Development Department. The unemployment rate statewide was 6.1 percent and 5.4 percent for the nation during the same period.

For December, the county’s labor force numbered 49,140 people. Of that, 2,190, or 4.5 percent, were unemployed. Job losses occurred in several industries, but construction was the hardest hit with 330 jobs lost.

The leisure and hospitality sectors – ski resorts, hotels, restaurants and bars – led the job growth during the month by adding 190 positions.

Adding the most jobs in the county during 2003 was manufacturing, with 110 new jobs. Food and beverage stores increased by 90 and entertainment and recreation added 30 jobs.

California’s economy, meanwhile, lost 8,400 payroll jobs last month, even as a record number of people reported being employed. Experts said that may indicate that many jobless are turning to self-employment and temporary work to get by amid a weak job market.

The state said more than 16.6 million Californians had jobs in December. It said the number of jobless declined by 30,000 over November to about 1.1 million. That is down 80,000 compared to December 2002, according to the EDD.

In December, the unemployment rate in Placer County was 4.3; El Dorado County’s was 5.2 percent; Sutter County’s was 13.7 percent, Yuba County’s was 13.9 percent.

In California, many employers remain reluctant to hire large numbers of new workers because of the rising cost of workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance and other employee benefits.

“Firms are seeing more business, but they’re not ready to put people on as full-time workers,” Kyser said. “If you’re an industry that has outrageous workers’ compensation costs, they don’t hire anybody, they use independent contractors.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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