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San Joaquin County unemployment rose in January

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Posted: Saturday, March 10, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 7:37 am, Sat Mar 10, 2012.

While the state unemployment rate saw a pleasant drop in January, San Joaquin County saw a slight bump in unemployment from December 2011, state officials reported Tuesday.

According to statistics released by the California Employment Development Department, San Joaquin County saw a bump from 16.1 percent in December 2011 to 16.6 percent in January 2012. However, the slight spike is not unusual, according to Nita Martinez, a spokesperson for the department.

Martinez said layoffs from holiday employment, as well as some dips in jobs from a stagnant agricultural job market, are the probable reasons behind the increased rate.

"We tend to see numbers go up for the month of January," she said. "But this is nothing to be alarmed about."

Martinez added that county residents should remember that the numbers released by the department are preliminary, and they have not been seasonally adjusted.

Seasonal adjustment means taking into account fluctuations that may happen at different times of the year.

For example, if you were to count how many people are employed as landscapers, you would have to take into account that landscapers do not work as much during the winter time due to fewer plants and flowers blooming. But once spring time rolls around, there is likely a jump in the number of landscapers.

San Joaquin County board supervisor Ken Vogel said that while the state numbers were encouraging, he hopes that the economic improvement will trickle down into San Joaquin County. He said areas like Southern California and even the Bay Area were doing better economically, but cities like Stockton and Lodi are still slightly struggling.

To try to have the economy improve here, Vogel is trying to lobby for Lodi to have wine barrel manufacturers set up shop. More businesses locally mean more jobs locally, he said, which would create a positive turnaround economically in the area.

"We were one of the first ones (to suffer) economically and we seem to be one of the last ones to (improve)," he said. "But we are positioned to make a comeback. We just need the momentum to get it going."

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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