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One out of 7 Mantecans unemployed
Manteca unemployment has nearly doubled in the past year to a record post World War II rate of 14.4 percent in March.

That means almost one out of seven of the adult workforce or 4,100 people in Manteca are unemployed. That’s up 13.8 percent last month which translates into 200 more people out of work.

California’s unemployment statewide is now at 11.2 percent – the highest since the Great Depression. It is up from 10.6 percent in February. Last March, the state’s unemployment rate was at 7.3 percent.

San Joaquin County’s jobless rate went from 15.8 percent in February to 16.4 percent in March. The unemployment numbers have doubled since March 2008.

There were four bright spots in the various employment sectors in month-to-month figures while all other categories of work declined in San Joaquin County.

Construction jobs were up 200 from February to 9,800 in March. The March to March construction trades are down 1,700 jobs.

Farm jobs were 1,100 positions in March compared to February which is expected as the prediction season gets into motion. Year-to-year ag jobs are down 100.

Government jobs were up 200 in March from 40,600 in February but were down year-to-year by 400 positions.

Education and health services jumped 100 positions in March to 28,800 jobs. That is the same increase in the year-to-year figures.

Manufacturing jobs were down 200 to 20,700 but year-to-year jobs are up 400.

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.

Residential construction remains steady in Manteca with 11 new homes started in March. That reflects the building pace for the past 10 months. It is down, though, significantly from three years ago when four times that number of permits were issued for single family homes in any given month.

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