Solano County

Solano sees big unemployment rate dip

By From page A1 | May 17, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Solano County saw its unemployment rate dramatically drop in April, from a revised 8 percent the previous month to 7 percent, the lowest rate since June 2008.

It could be the sign of a long-awaited, game-changing turnaround kicking in. Or it could be a statistical blip, given that one reason for the large drop is that there are fewer people in the labor force.

“Just looking at the month-over really doesn’t show you what the trend is,” said Linda Wong, a labor market consultant with the state Employment Development Department, on Friday.

The long-term trend is positive, if not so dramatic. The county’s unemployment rate has gone down and up since hitting a high of 12.4 percent in January 2011, but overall has headed downward.

Wong noted that the unemployment rate typically goes down at this time of year, just not as much as 1 percent.

But the data also shows a reason for caution. The county’s labor force shrunk from 218,100 in March to 215,000 in April and the number of people employed also shrunk, from 200,700 to 200,000. The unemployment rate fell because the labor force dip was the greater of the two.

California as a whole also saw an April unemployment drop, from a seasonally unadjusted 8.4 percent in March to 7.3 percent in April. The state’s seasonally adjusted rate – unavailable for Solano County but typically used for the state and national figures – showed a less-dramatic drop, from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent.

Solano County still had the highest unemployment rate among the nine Bay Area counties for April. But the competition was stiff. Marin County had the lowest rate in the state at 3.9 percent.

Other Bay Area counties also had among the state’s lowest rates, with San Mateo County at 4.2 percent, San Francisco County at 4.4 percent, Napa County at 5 percent, Sonoma and Santa Clara counties at 5.3 percent, Alameda County at 5.7 percent and Contra Costa County at 6.1 percent.

Solano County had the 18th lowest unemployment rate among California’s 58 counties. The highest rate was Imperial County at 21.6 percent.

Among Solano County cities, Benicia had a rate of 4.3 percent, Rio Vista and Vacaville 5.3 percent, Dixon 5.6 percent, Suisun City 7.2 percent, Fairfield 7.7 percent and Vallejo 8.7 percent.

Solano County from March to April added 500 jobs, for a total of 127,900. It added 2,100 jobs over the past year.

The trade, transportation and utilities category added 1,300 jobs over the past year, led by 900 jobs in retail. This marked the 26th consecutive month of year-over increases for this category, Wong said.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 2 comments

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  • Tax PayerMay 17, 2014 - 5:28 am

    wow, so still the worst in the Bay Area. Maybe all of this is due to the shrinking workforce. More on entitlements and welfare so the actually tax payers will be paying more.

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  • Rich GiddensMay 17, 2014 - 10:33 pm

    So what----Texas continues to outshine the rest of the nation in terms of economic and job growth. Fresh government data from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) shows that Texas added more than 64,000 jobs in April--the biggest employment gain in the state during the last four years. The new jobs have helped Texas' unemployment rate to drop to 5.2 percent, according to the TWC. This figure is down from 5.5 percent in March, and from 6.4 percent one year ago.The new jobs come as no surprise; Texas has consistently been ranked one of the most business-friendly states in the nation. Low taxes, modest government spending, and predictable regulation have made the Lone Star State an ideal environment in which to start and grow businesses. And California? California lies big and like New York reels in a sucker once in a while but the lion's share goes to Texas.

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