Unemployment remained near an eight-year low in Sonoma County in June, ticking up to 4.3 percent, the state reported Friday.
The local economy has churned out 4,400 jobs over the past year, the state Employment Development said. More than one in four new jobs are in the construction sector, as rising home prices and rents are increasing demand for housing in Sonoma County. Service industry jobs have also increased, a reflection of the booming local tourism industry.
“This is broad and diverse recovery — those are signs that it’s healthy,” said Ben Stone, executive director of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. “The numbers are further evidence that we’re recovering and headed toward a strong economy.”
The unemployment rate had been unchanged in Sonoma County for two months, hovering at 4.2 percent in April and May, the lowest level since May 2007.
Since May alone, the county has added 900 jobs. Of those, 100 were farming-related.
A year ago, the local unemployment rate was significantly higher, at 5.5 percent.
Since June 2014 Sonoma County has added 1,200 construction jobs, 1,000 jobs in professional and business services, 1,000 jobs in trade, transportation and utilities and 500 in local government. The hospitality sector saw a more modest increase, with 300 new jobs, and finance-related jobs have grown by 200. Manufacturing was down slightly, with 200 fewer jobs compared with this time last year.
With the financial recovery, some sectors are having a difficult time finding and retaining employees, Stone said.
“It’s tough for some employers to find workers, so it’s a great time right now if you’re looking for a job,” he said. “I’d expect to see wages increase, to find those workers. That should help correct some of the concerns over inequality and low wages.”
Within Sonoma County, Forestville had the highest unemployment rate at 7.3 percent, followed by Guerneville at 6.7 percent and Cotati with 5.7 percent. The lowest rates were in Occidental, with .5 percent, Graton at 1.3 percent and Glen Ellen at 2 percent. Santa Rosa came in at 4.8 percent, Petaluma at 3.3 percent and Rohnert Park at 4.5 percent.
Statewide, unemployment dipped to 6.3 percent in June. The U.S. unemployment rate also declined, falling to 5.3 percent.
Of California’s 58 counties, Sonoma County had the 6th lowest unemployment rate, behind multiple Bay Area counties. San Mateo County had the lowest Bay Area unemployment rate, at 3.3 percent. Marin had 3.4 percent, followed by San Francisco at 3.5 percent.
In Mendocino County, unemployment remained at 5.1 percent in June, unchanged from May. A year ago, it was at 6.4 percent. Local employers added 760 jobs over the past year.
In Lake County, unemployment stood at 6.8 percent in June, unchanged from May. A year ago, it was at 8.3 percent. Local employers added 710 jobs over the past year.
In Napa County, unemployment sat at 4.1 percent in June, unchanged from May. A year ago, it was 5.1 percent. Local employers added 1,100 jobs.
You can reach Staff Writer Angela Hart at 526-8503 or email@example.com. On Twitter @ahartreports.