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400 more people working in May than in March

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400 more people working in May than in March

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POSTED June 21, 2009 2:30 a.m.
Manteca’s unemployment rate improved for the second straight month in May.

The Employment Development Department reported Manteca’s jobless rate at 13.6 percent for May, down from a post World War II record high 14.4 per cent in March. Four hundred less people out of a workforce of 28,600 were unemployed in May than in the high month of March when 4,100 people were looking for work.

San Joaquin County and all of its cities reported modest gains – thanks almost exclusively to the ag sector that provided 10,300 more jobs in May than April. All other sectors were stagnant or lost jobs except for leisure and hospitality that created 100 jobs. It also marked the first time in recent memory that the government sector lost jobs – 200 – down to 40,900. Given teacher and municipal worker layoffs that are expected to be the tip of the iceberg as the months go by.

The improvement in the ag sector was muted somewhat by the fact farm employment year to year is down 200 jobs. Last year when unemployment in the county was at 9.3 percent, there were 23,300 ag sector jobs. Year-to-year there were no gains in any sector with the best performance being the mining sector that – with 200  jobs – didn’t lose or gain any to remain stagnant.

Even so, San Joaquin County and Manteca bucked the state and national trends of unemployment rising in May. Statewide, 11.5 percent of Californians were unemployed in May compared to 11.2 percent in April.

The national unemployment number rose to 9.4 percent.

The jobless rate in the Northern San Joaquin Valley is impacted as much by the Bay Area economy as it is by the local economy. The data reflects the number of available adults who are gainfully employed or not within a certain jurisdiction within the county. Overall, the job count reflects positions available in the county although they could be held by non-county residents just like many Bay Area jobs are held by those who live in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

It is that mixture that has cushioned the impact somewhat in Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon, and Tracy keeping the employment figures still better than the Great Depression when the San Joaquin Valley was devastated as virtually a 100-percent farming region. Diversification has helped somewhat.

State economists expect the jobless rate to remain in the double digits throughout most of 2009 before it starts improving near year’s end.

Manteca is expected to take hits in the government sector this month with a number of educators and teaching support staff getting laid off.
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