FAIRFIELD — Solano County has seen its unemployment rate almost cut in half since the high point during the Great Recession.
The seasonally unadjusted rate for May was 6.6 percent, according to state Employment Development Department data released Friday. That compares to 12.5 percent in the early 2010s.
Solano County’s May rate decreased 0.4 percent from the 7 percent revised rate in April. Employment Development Department Market Consultant Linda Wong said a drop at this time of year is the norm.
“It did follow the trend, but it went down more than usual,” Wong said. “Typically, it goes down by 0.1 percent. It does also follow the trend of other North Bay counties.”
This May’s rate of 6.6 percent for the county compares to 8.2 percent in May 2013.
Solano County from April to May saw its labor force grow from 214,900 to 216,100. It saw the number of people employed grow from 199,800 to 201,900.
The county has the highest unemployment rate among the nine Bay Area counties. But competition is stiff. The state’s four lowest rates are all in the Bay Area: Marin County at 3.8 percent, San Mateo at 4.1 percent, San Francisco at 4.4 percent and Napa County at 4.5 percent.
Solano County’s 6.6 percent rate was the 18th lowest among California’s 58 counties. It compares to a seasonally unadjusted rate of 7.1 percent for California and 6.1 percent for the nation.
Among local cities in May, Benicia had a rate of 4 percent; Rio Vista and Vacaville, 4.8 percent; Dixon, 5.2 percent; Suisun City, 6.8 percent; Fairfield, 7.2 percent; and Vallejo 8.1 percent.
While the county’s unemployment rate has dropped over the past year, the number of local jobs has risen. The county had 128,800 jobs in May, up from 127,300 in May 2013.
The county added 800 jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities category, Wong said. That marks the 27th consecutive month of year-over job gains. Retail trade led the way within the category with 400 jobs added.
Some question the quality of U.S. job gains in the wake of the Great Recession. The National Employment Law Project estimates that lower-wage industries constituted 22 percent of recession job losses and 44 percent of recovery growth, midwage industries 37 percent of recession losses and 26 percent of recovery growth and high-wage industries 41 percent of recession losses and 30 percent of recovery growth.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.