Sonoma County's unemployment rate in June rose by a small percentage for the first time in six months, as employers in government and educational and health services shed jobs.

June's unemployment rate was 6.7 percent, up from 6.1 percent in May and 6.5 percent in April, according to the state Employment Development Department.

Unemployment had been declining since January. There were 17,400 unemployed job-seekers in June, the first increase in six months.

Linda Wong, North Bay labor market consultant for the EDD, said the higher unemployment numbers likely reflect seasonal conditions in the job market, including the number of students who are out of school looking for summer work.

"It's a fairly typical change at this time of year," she said.

Over the past year, the economy has created 4,400jobs. But annual job growth slowed for the third consecutive month.

Local employers shed 900 jobs between May and June, ending a five-month string of monthly job gains.

Government shed 1,400 jobs from May to June, and educational and health services lost 200.

There were 900 fewer jobs overall in Sonoma County over the same period.

Still, the county maintained its 8th-place ranking for California counties with the lowest unemployment rates.

The county added 300 jobs in the leisure and hospitality industries and 200 in farming industries, reflecting the summer vacation season and the coming harvest. Manufacturing also added 200 jobs.

Ben Stone, executive director of the county's Economic Development Board, said the overall trends "have the hallmarks of a gradual, but broad, recovery."

During the recession that began in December 2007, the county lost roughly 20,000 jobs. It since has added back about 5,000 jobs, or a quarter of those lost. The total work force now numbers 181,800 people, excluding domestic workers and the self-employed.

Statewide, unemployment fell to 8.5 percent in June, a slight decrease from 8.6 percent in May and 9 percent in April. May marked the first time the state had fallen below 9 percent in nearly five years.

The national unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.6 percent.

In Mendocino County, unemployment rose to 7.4 percent in June, up from 7 percent in May and down from 8 percent in April and 9.5 percent a year ago.

In Lake County, unemployment rose to 12 percent in June from 11.6 percent in May. That was down from 12.7 percent in April and 14.8 percent a year ago.

In Napa County, unemployment rose to 5.8 percent in June, up from 5.3 percent in May and down from 6 percent in April and 7.5 percent a year ago.

You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or On Twitter @deadlinederek.