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Placer County jobless rate drops in November

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Placer County has the 16th best jobless rate in the state, according to California Employment Development Department statistics released Friday.

The unemployment in the county ticked down in November to 7.1 percent from 7.2 percent in October. The statewide unemployment rate is 8.3 percent, with the lowest jobless rate tallied in Marin County at 4.6 percent, and the highest of the 58 counties recorded by Fresno County, at 12.6 percent.

Nevada County, Placer’s neighbor to the north, tied for 16th place. Other nearby counties didn’t fare as well in November, with El Dorado County recording a 7.6 percent jobless rate, Sacramento County coming in at 8.1 percent and Yolo County topping the region with a 9.4 percent rate.

George Marley, labor-market consultant for the Sacramento region taking in Placer County, said there were some bright spots in the November numbers.

Retail job increases were again a major factor in strengthening job numbers, he said. That sector was up 4,000 jobs regionally and accounted for the largest portion of gains, Marley said.

“It’s an above-average jump,” Marley said. “Retailers could be feeling more optimistic about the holiday season.”

Construction jobs decreased at a slower pace than normal. Numbers were down 100 for the month over the region. Marley said that a look at the area’s 23-year average showed construction employment would usually drop 1,100 in November from the month before.

Good weather through the fall is suspected to be a factor, Marley said.

Year-over-year, six of the nine job sectors have increased or stayed steady in the Sacramento-Placer county area, with the leader being hospitality and leisure. That sector is up 5,000 jobs for the year.

The drop to 8 percent unemployment regionally from 8.1 percent in October isn’t a big one, but Marley said that, in comparison to last year, it’s substantive. The November 2012 jobless rate was 9.6 percent.

“We haven’t seen something this low since the shock of 2008,” he said. “It’s still a little way to get back to 2007 numbers (when unemployment was at 5.5 percent).”