Nevada County unemployment rate back in single-digit range | TheUnion.com
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Nevada County unemployment rate back in single-digit range

Victoria Penate
Staff Writer

Nevada County’s unemployment rate has returned to the single-digit range according to data provided by the California Employment Development Department, dropping from 10.6% in July to 8.0% in August.

In employment rate, Nevada County has risen from 19th in the state in July to 14th in August.

The statewide unemployment rate also saw a decrease, dropping from 13.7% in July to 11.6% in August.

However, Nevada County residents and Californians overall are still experiencing over double the unemployment rate seen one year ago — 3.3% and 4.2% respectively in Aug. 2019.

From July to August, Nevada County saw an 11.5% increase in employment in the mining, logging, and construction category, representing 340 additional jobs filled. Retail trade saw a 14.1% increase in employment month-to-month, representing 430 jobs.

Two categories saw a month-to-month decrease in employment: the information industry went from 230 to 220 employees, a 4.3% drop, and financial activities went from 1,310 to 1,250 employees, a 4.6% drop.

Representing the largest change by percentage, the federal government category went from 350 to 450 employees, a 28.6% increase.

GROWTH IN FARM EMPLOYMENT

Of the private sector employment categories, farming — which is the smallest category in the county in number of employees — saw the highest growth by percentage from July to August, growing from 110 to 140 employees, a 27.3% increase.

Although the addition of 30 jobs is modest relative to the month-to-month employment growth shown by some other categories, it makes farming the only category in the county to show growth relative to this time last year; in August 2019, 100 Nevada County residents were farm employees.

On the primary factor contributing to this growth, Nevada County agricultural commissioner Chris De Nisj said, “I think folks are going out of their way to buy (from farms) locally, so that definitely has helped with some demand.”

He said many Nevada County residents gained greater awareness of local food systems as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought disruptions and shortages to grocery store supply chains, prompting many to seek out fresh food grown locally.

“Some farms have expanded, taking on additional acreage, so they are able to afford to bring on one or two extra employees to help manage those farms,” said De Nijs. “We also have a great community where folks do want to help each other out, and buying local is one way to do that.”

CALIFORNIA TO PAUSE CLAIMS

In a news release Saturday, the California Employment Development Department announced it would be taking a two-week reset period intended to help prevent fraud and reduce backlog.

During the reset period, California residents newly applying for unemployment benefits will be asked to submit their information so the Employment Development Department can contact them when they are ready to resume receiving online applications. Individuals with existing claims will still be able to certify for payments, re-open a claim if necessary, and monitor their claim during this time,

According to the release, a new identity verification tool called ID.me will be implemented during this time to “fortify the application against fraud” by adding verification points including identification documents and a self-photo during the online application instead of the current follow-up process by mail.

In response to backlog, staff will be redirected to work through old claims, make contact with claimants to gather pending information, and process correspondence received by the department. According to the Employment Development Department, there were 591,016 claims as of last week which were submitted more than 21 days prior and still needed to be processed.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.


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