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Manteca sees third straight drop in monthly unemployment

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Manteca sees third straight drop in monthly unemployment

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POSTED July 19, 2009 2:37 a.m.
Manteca’s unemployment rate improved for the third straight month in June.

While Manteca made a modest one-tenth of a percent drop all others San Joaquin County cities saw a jump in unemployment numbers of at least fourth-tenths of a percent in June.

Overall San Joaquin County jobless rate dropped slightly from 15.6 to 15.5 percent on the strength of agricultural jobs.

The Employment Development Department reported Manteca’s jobless rate at 13.5 percent for June, down from a post World War II record high 14.4 per cent in March. Two hundred less people out of a Manteca workforce of 28,600 were unemployed in June than in the of March when 4,100 people were looking for work.

For the first time ever, job losses in the education/health services as well as government sectors topped the bad unemployment news for San Joaquin County. There were 700 jobs lost in education/health services and 400 jobs in government. There are now 28,000 employed in education/health services and 40,400 in government.

There were 1,100 additional farm jobs in May bringing the total to 22,400. There were also 100 new manufacturing jobs bringing the number employed in that sector to 20,700.

The improvement in the ag sector was muted somewhat by the fact farm employment year to year is down 2,300 jobs. Last year when unemployment in the county was at 9.3 percent, there were 24,700 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.

Statewide, 11.6 percent of Californians were unemployed in June compared to 11.5 percent in May and 11.2 percent in April.

The national unemployment number rose to 9.5 percent in June up from 9.4 percent in May.

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.
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