Monday, May 23, 2005

Unemployment numbers down in Solano County with 1800 new jobs added in April

Unemployment numbers down locally, in state

By RACHEL RASKIN-ZRIHEN, Times-Herald staff writer

Unemployment in Solano and Napa counties was down last month and the number of newly created jobs was up, according to the latest state figures.

Cynthia Solorio, the Employment Development Department's labor market consultant for the Napa, Solano and Sonoma areas, said all the signs bode well for the local economy in the next few months.

"There were some 1,800 jobs added in Solano County (over the last month), which is a very nice job gain," Solorio said. "Some of them are seasonal, like in the leisure and hospitality industry, which gained 600 jobs. And this is just the beginning of the summer season, so that should grow."

Between April 2004 and last month, 3,000 jobs were gained in Solano County.
However, she said, the price of gasoline may be a wild card in the mix.

"If people don't travel because gas prices are too high, we could see jobs lost in that industry this summer, instead of gained," Solorio said. "That's something to watch."

At 5.2 percent unemployment, Solano County in the middle third of California counties, according to the latest figures. That's down from a 5.6 percent in March and below the year-ago estimate of 6 percent.

Marin and Orange counties were tied for first at 3.5 percent unemployment, and Imperial County ranked last at 14.6 percent unemployment. Napa county ranked fifth. The unadjusted unemployment rate statewide between March and April was 5.2 percent. It was 4.9 percent nationally.

Besides the hospitality industry, the largest job gains in Solano County between March and April, were in construction and government, figures show.

"It's promising that construction jobs continue to grow, even with all the rain. It's a very good sign for the local economy," Solorio said.

The Napa area gained 1,500 jobs between March and April and just over 1,000 over the year, the figures show. The main gains were in construction, trade and transportation, leisure and hospitality, and government.

Solorio said the unemployment rate is calculated based on where people work and not where they live. However, it's a good sign that the number of unemployed people actively seeking work in Solano County has dropped, while the number of jobs created here has grown.

"There's a pretty high commuter factor in Solano County, but the civilian unemployment rate over the past three months has been consistently dropping," Solorio said. "That could reflect a percentage of people getting jobs among those newly created in the county."

- E-mail Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at RachelZ@thnewsnet. com or call 553-6824.

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