Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Sacramento region's jobless rate inched higher to 5.4 percent in July,

Construction, school layoffs hurt jobless rate

Sacramento Business Journal - 1:35 PM PDT Friday, August 17, 2007

The Sacramento region's jobless rate inched higher in July, with cuts in construction and public education-related positions, according to a report released Friday.

The four-county area's jobless rate increased to 5.4 percent in July, compared to 5.2 percent in June and 4.9 percent a year ago, according to the state Employment Development Department.

The total number of jobs declined by 5,200, the first monthly drop since January, but 18,900 jobs have been added since July 2006.

Much of the job-loss is attributed to summer vacation. About 6,400 school-related jobs were eliminated last month, with many likely returning to local payrolls in the next few weeks as school resumes.

Construction -- once the fastest-growing industry during the housing boom -- dropped by 400 positions in July, unusual for the often-busy summer building activity. Many homebuilders, feeling the effect of the housing slowdown, have laid off construction workers in recent months.

The dismal housing market has pounded the construction and the financial services industry during the past year. The region has about 3,100 fewer construction employees -- a 4.3 percent drop -- and 700 fewer mortgage and real estate professionals than a year ago, according to the monthly report.

California's jobless rate increased to 5.3 percent in July, from 5.2 percent in June and 4.8 percent a year ago.

In a separate survey of households, the state had 960,000 people out of work in July, an increase of 18,000 from June and 98,000 more than July 2006. Construction payroll dropped 7,800 jobs from last month -- and was off 18,000 positions from a year ago, easily the largest decline by industry.

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