Sonoma County gained 1,300 jobs in February

Sonoma County added 1,300 jobs in February, bringing the unemployment rate down a tick to 6.2 percent compared to January, according to the state Employment Development Department.

Year-to-year data show that the county's unemployment rate fell 1.4 percentage points from February 2013 to February 2014, which translates into 7,000 new jobs.

The decline is further evidence that Sonoma County is undergoing a steady economic recovery, one that has earned it the seventh-lowest unemployment rate of the state's 58 counties, local officials said.

"This is what recovery looks like," said Ben Stone, executive director of the county's Economic Development Board. "It's a slow recovery, but the good news is we're headed in the right direction."

Strong employment gains were made in February in construction, manufacturing, government and educational and health services sectors. The government sector saw 400 jobs added last month, education and health services added 300, while manufacturing and construction added 200 and 100, respectively.

The jobless data, released on Friday, show February's unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in Mendocino County and 11.4 percent in Lake County.

There are an estimated 261,600 jobs in Sonoma County, 43,080 in Mendocino County and 26,710 in Lake County.

Stone said that about 2,000 of the 4,200 government sector jobs added in he previous 12 months were a result of the opening of the Graton Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park. The jobs are classified by the state as government because tribes are separate governments, Stone said.

Linda Wong, North Bay labor market consultant for the state's economic development department, said the construction sector in Sonoma County is seeing steady improvement.

"For Sonoma County, it's totally coming back," Wong said.

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