County jobless rate increases

A “Now Hiring!” sign placed outside the McDonald’s on Lodi Avenue on Monday.

Since December, the unemployment rate in San Joaquin County was on a slow but steady decline. However, jobless numbers in June increased slightly, even as the state completely reopened its economy.

According to the California Employment Development Department, the unemployment rate in San Joaquin County was 9.1%, up from 8.3% reported in May.

While there were 7,300 positions filled across the county in May, the EDD said 3,700 jobs were lost in June, including 2,400 in the educational and health services sector. The government sector lost 800 jobs, while professional and business services saw a 500 job loss.

Lodi’s unemployment rate was the third highest among the seven incorporated cities in the county, with 2,300 out of work for a jobless rate of 7.7%, according to EDD reports.

Stockton had the highest unemployment rate at 10.3%, while Manteca had an 8.2% jobless rate, the EDD said.

The county’s unemployment rate is the eighth-highest in the state behind Imperial, Tulare, Kern, Merced, Los Angeles, Kings and Fresno counties, respectively.

Imperial County’s jobless rate was 17.5%. The statewide unemployment rate is 8%, compared to 6.1% across the country, according to the EDD.

Despite the high number of jobs lost, some sectors in San Joaquin County saw significant increases. The trade, transportation and utilities sector added 1,300 jobs to its workforce, while the manufacturing sector added 700 new jobs, as did the leisure and hospitality sector.

In California, the unemployment held steady in June as the state continues to recover from pandemic losses, though the pace of adding jobs has slowed as workers take their time rejoining the labor force.

After four consecutive months of adding over 100,000 jobs per month, June saw gains of 73,500 jobs, state officials last week.

The state's jobless rate stayed flat at 7.7%, as an expanded labor force offset job gains. The state's Employment Development Department revised the May unemployment figure to 7.7%, from 7.9%.

The state had 16.42 million jobs as of June. Eight of 11 industry sectors added jobs last month, led by leisure and hospitality, which added 44,000 new jobs. For the last five months, that sector has been the fastest-growing industry in the state, thanks to restaurants rehiring and tourism ramping up.

The construction industry lost the most jobs in June, but some economists said this is likely a temporary blip on the road to recovery, not a trend. The sector lost 3,000 jobs, largely building foundation and exterior contractors, according to the EDD.

Economists said the recovery now hinges more on filling jobs rather than creating them. Workers seem slower to return to the job market than in previous recessions, as the state's active labor pool is still below its pre-pandemic level.

"California's job engine made further progress in June, but the problem has shifted from a weakness in worker demand to one of supply," said Lynn Reaser, an economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

Los Angeles Times reporter Carly Olson contributed to this story.

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