Saturday, September 17, 2011

2011-09-17 "Jobless rate plunges in both Solano, Napa counties" by Rachel Raskin-Zrihen, rom "Vallejo Times-Herald"
The unemployment rates in Solano and Napa counties fell precipitously in August, though whether or not this portends a positive trend remains to be seen, experts say.
The state's latest employment figures, released Friday, show this was the deepest drop between July and August in 21 years in both areas, state Employment Development Department labor market consultant Linda Wong said.
The unemployment figures for Solano and Napa counties in August stood at 11.6 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively. That was down from 12.2 percent and 9.2 percent in July. It's even below the year-ago estimates of 11.9 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively.
These figures compare with a statewide jobless rate of 12.1 percent and 9.1 percent nationally during the same period.
Though still the highest in the Bay Area, "Unemployment fell more drastically in Solano than in most of the surrounding region and Solano had the 25th lowest unemployment rate out of 57 California counties in August," Wong said. "Napa had the third lowest."
And it's not a matter of a large number of people giving up looking for work and falling off the rolls, she said.
"It's a positive," Wong said. "The labor force increased. Some 1,300 people joined the workforce in Solano County last month and the number of unemployed fell by 1,200."
Solano County's employment level rose from 185,500 people working to 188,000 -- meaning 2,500 more people were employed here in August than in July, she said.
Overall, in Solano County, total jobs increased over July by 1,900, Wong said. Government gained 600 jobs, "which is better than the 21 year average for this time of year," she said.
The trade, transportation and utility sector recovered 300 jobs in August, while the professional and business, private education, health, and leisure and hospitality sectors each gained 200 jobs, she said.
On the other hand most, sectors still lost jobs when measured against August last year, Wong said. In fact, the only sector that gained jobs last month compared to August, 2010 was government, which was up 400 jobs. It's the first year-over-year gain in that sector in 27 months, she said.
But, all in all, the news is good, Solano Economic Development Corp. head Sandy Person said.
"We're below 12 percent," Person said. "That's fantastic news. There has been some significant wins for us in the county lately, like the (green manufactured homes firm) Blu Homes in Vallejo and (electric car maker) CODA in Benicia, so there's some significant momentum. I'm feeling positive and encouraged."
Blu Homes is initially bringing some 90 jobs to Mare Island and CODA is partnering with Benicia's Amports, Inc. to install certain components and do final inspections when the cars arrive from China.

Job ads by city
July August Difference
-- Vallejo 769 820 up 51
-- Fairfield 1221 1236 up 15
-- Vacaville 912 921 up 9
-- American Canyon 100 88 down 17
-- Napa 1,249 1,254 up 5

Top five employers by number of want ads by county in August
Source: California Employment Development Department
Solano Napa
-- Kaiser Permanente -- 127 -- St. Helena Hospital -- 68
-- NorthBay Healthcare -- 92 -- VIRTUAL HIREvent (hospitals) -- 44
-- Benicia Unified School District -- 42 -- Treasury Wines Estates -- 43
-- Nurse Options USA -- 36 -- Kaiser Northern California -- 37
-- Sutter Health -- 34 -- Napa Valley Unified School District -- 27

Top five occupations by number of job ads in August
Source: California Employment Development Department
Solano County Napa County
-- Registered nurse -- 272 -- Retail sales person -- 66
-- Retail sales supervisor -- 133 -- Registered nurse -- 60
-- Retail sales person -- 119 -- Retail sales supervisor -- 54
-- Truck driver -- 108 -- Customer service representative -- 48
-- Customer service representative -- 63 -- Waitperson -- 45

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