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Sonoma County jobless rate dips to 6.6 percent

Published: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 12:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 12:34 p.m.

Sonoma County’s unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent in August as the county continued to show long-term job growth for health care, hospitality and business services.

The jobless rate declined from 7.1 percent in July, according to data from the state Employment Development Department.

In comparison, the state’s unemployment rate increased to 8.9 percent last month from 8.7 percent in July. The U.S. rate was 7.3 percent.

For the county, the jobless rate fell partly in August because 800 people dropped out of the labor force, but also because total employment increased by 600.

The single-biggest increase last month was in local schools, a jump of 800 from July that is deemed typical for the start of the academic year.

When compared to a year earlier, professional and business services added 800 jobs; hospitality added 500; and educational and health services added 400.

Those three sectors have been the county’s leading industries in job growth over time, said Linda Wong, North Bay labor market consultant for the state employment department.

For the leisure and hospitality sector, “August marked the 28th consecutive month of year-over-year increases,” Wong said.

Educational and health services, which includes trade schools, social workers and health care professionals, has seen employment grow improve on a year-over-year basis for 38 consecutive months.

For business and professional services, jobs have increased from a year earlier for 13 consecutive months.

The August unemployment rates were 7.3 percent for Mendocino County; 11.6 percent for Lake; 5.8 percent for Napa; and 5 percent for Marin.

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