FAIRFIELD — Solano County’s unemployment rate in December 2013 continued a long and steady, if sometimes uneven, downward journey.
The seasonally unadjusted rate was 7.3 percent. That compares to 7.7 percent in November 2013 and 9.4 percent in December 2012.
Solano County is doing better than California, which had a December 2013 unadjusted rate of 7.9 percent. But it lags behind the national rate of 6.5 percent.
The county during the Great Recession and its aftermath hit its highest unemployment rate at 12 percent in July 2012. Since then, the rate has dropped and risen at various times, but the overall trend has been down.
Solano County still has the highest unemployment rate among the nine Bay Area counties, but the competition is stiff. California has 58 counties. Of the lowest 11 rates, eight are in Bay Area counties. Marin County has the lowest rate in the state at 4.2 percent.
Solano County has the 19th-lowest rate in the state. While the county’s rate is higher than in other Bay Area counties, it is generally lower than that in Central Valley counties. For example, neighboring Yolo County has a rate of 9.5 percent.
Among local cities, Benicia in December 2013 had a rate of 4.5 percent, Vacaville and Rio Vista 5.4 percent, Dixon 5.9 percent, Suisun City 7.6 percent, Fairfield 8.1 percent and Vallejo 9.1 percent.
Solano County’s labor force in December 2013 was 219,400 people and the number of people employed was 203,300. That meant 16,100 people were looking for a job and couldn’t find one.
On the local jobs front, Solano County in December 2013 had 127,300 jobs, compared to 123,700 in December 2012, a gain of 3,600.
The trades, transportation and utilities category added 1,100 jobs over the year, said Linda Wong, an analyst with the state Employment Development Department. That marks the 26th consecutive month with year-over job increases or no change, she said.
Educational and health services added 800 jobs over the past year, with most of the increases coming in private health care. This category has seen increases for 57 consecutive months, Wong said.
Leisure and hospitality gained 1,000 jobs. That marked the 13th consecutive month of year-over gains, Wong said.
“This was mostly in food service and bars, which was up 800 jobs,” Wong said.
The only category that lost jobs over the past year was government, which lost 300 jobs.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.