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Employment picture improves in Manteca
Manteca’s unemployment picture – as well as that of every other community in San Joaquin County – bucked the statewide trend in August as more people went back to work.

One hundred and fifty previously unemployed Manteca residents found work in August to drop the city’s unemployment rate down to 13.7 percent. Manteca’ jobless rate is now just under 50 percent higher than it was in the recession of 1989 through 1992.

Fewer than fourteen out of every 100 employable adults are now out of work in Manteca. That translates into 28,200 Manteca residents employed.

Countywide there was a 15.7 percent unemployment rate in August down from 14.0 percent in July. The worst city to be living and looking for a job is Stockton with an 18.9 percent unemployment rate. The hardest hit community is the unincorporated area of French Camp in the northwest portion of the Manteca Unified School District where 48.2 percent of the able-bodied adult population is out of work.

The California Employment Development Department reported Manteca’s jobless rate at 13.7 percent for August, down from a post World War II record high 14.4 per cent in March.

Five sectors experienced a loss of 100 jobs each in San Joaquin County during August. They were construction, financial activities, professional services, hospitality, and other services.

After three months of job losses, the government sector posted a gain of 500 jobs in August while education and health services increased 100 jobs.

There were 1,600 farm jobs added in August bringing the number employed up to 15,900. There were also 200 manufacturing jobs added plus 200 jobs in the field of trade, transportation, and utilities. Trade, transportation, and utilities are the No. 1 source of jobs in San Joaquin County at 48,600, followed by government at 38,100, education and health services at 27,500, manufacturing at 21,000, and farming at 14,300.

Statewide, 12.2 percent of Californians were unemployed in August compared to 11.9 percent in July, 11.6 percent in June, 11.5 percent in May and 11.2 percent in April. This is the worst for unemployment in California since World War II.

The national unemployment number rose to 9.9 percent in August after dropping to 9.4 percent in July.

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.