Foothill jobless numbers up

December 15, 2002 11:00 pm

By ABBY SOUZA and The Associated Press

Unemployment in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties is inching up.

Tuolumne County's jobless rate was 5.6 percent last month, an increase of .1 percentage point since last November's 5.5 percent, according to just released statistics from the state Employment Development Department.

In Calaveras County, 7.2 percent of the county work force was out of work in November 2002, compared to the 5.6 percent in November 2001.

By comparison, the state unemployment rate for the month was 6.3 percent and the national unemployment rate of 5.7 percent for November.

County unemployment rates are calculated by averaging rates for communities within each county.

Within Calaveras County, Angels Camp had the lowest jobless rate of 6.7 percent and Murphys had the highest, at 9.4 percent for November.

In Tuolumne County, the Phoenix Lake-Cedar Ridge area had the lowest unemployment rate with 3.6 percent. Tuolumne had the highest unemployment rate of 11.5 percent. The area with the next highest unemployment was East Sonora with 7.5 percent.

Other counties bordering Tuolumne and Calaveras counties had similar or higher numbers. Mariposa County had a 6.7 percent unemployment rate last month. Stanislaus County's rate was 11.6 percent and San Joaquin County had 10.4 percent of its job force unemployed.

Counties with similar unemployment statistics for last month were Yolo County, with 5.6 percent and Ventura County with 5.7 percent.

The highest unemployment rate in the state — 23.8 percent — was in Colusa County. San Luis Obispo and Marin counties tied for the lowest rate at 3.5 percent.

Statewide, the number of people holding jobs increased by about 13,000 in November, largely because of extra people being hired by retailers during the holiday season.

But about 1.13 million people were unemployed in California last month. Of those people, 660,800 were laid off, 80,100 left their jobs voluntarily and the rest were either re-entering the job market or joining it for the first time, EDD officials said.

State numbers show the number of government jobs, specifically in education, grew by about 26,700.

In Tuolumne County, state and local government jobs grew 4.9 percent from November 2001 to November 2002. One hundred federal-government jobs were also added in that time. Calaveras County saw an increase of 3.8 percent in state and local government jobs.

Retail jobs in the state increased by more than 50,000 to deal with holiday shopping, which came as a relief to labor experts.

‘‘There was a concern that it would go down from the white-hot numbers we had in 1999 and 2000,'' said Michael Bernick, director of the Employment Development Department.