Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Lake County's unemployment rate hits 19.6 percent in January

LAKE COUNTY – Lake County started off 2010 with the highest unemployment rate in decades, hitting 19.6 percent, according to numbers released Wednesday.

Lake County's unemployment predictably rose during January, which is known as one of the slowest months for jobs in the county, where main industries are agriculture and tourism.

January's unemployment rate was up from 15.3 percent in January 2009 and a revised rate of 18.2 percent last December, according to the California Employment Development Department (EDD).

“I am not surprised at all,” District 1 Supervisor Jim Comstock said Wednesday of the unemployment rate continuing to climb.

Added District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing, “We're in the middle of a storm.”

In an effort to help the local economy, Comstock said the county is implementing measures like its local vendor preference, and Rushing added that they're doing everything they can to support local business.

The EDD's report on January's unemployment figures placed Lake at No. 50 of 58 counties.

Counties that had worse rates included Yuba, 20.4 percent; Sutter, 21 percent; San Benito, 21.1 percent; Merced, 21.7 percent; Plumas, 22.3 percent; Trinity, 25.8 percent; and Imperial, 27.3 percent.

The highest unemployment in the state was found in neighboring Colusa County, where 27.4 percent of its labor force is out of work, according to the report.

The lowest unemployment was found in Mono County, which registered an 8.1 percent unemployment rate.

California's overall unemployment rate was 13.2 percent, higher than was reported earlier this week.

In Lake County approximately 4,930 people of a workforce of 25,110 were out of work in January, compared to 4,510 people out of work in December, when the workforce numbered 24,740 people. The local workforce also was up slightly from the 24,920 workers reported the previous January.

A total of 12,370 jobs were reported across all industries in Lake County in January, down 5.3 percent from 13,060 in January 2009 and a 1.3-percent loss or 12,530 jobs in December, pointing to the impact of the job losses in neighboring counties and its impact on local residents who commute.

The largest job losses by percentage over the last year came in the category of “nonfarm” under the durable goods production subcategory, which lost 33.3 percent of its jobs, or 30 out of 90 jobs over the past year, based on the EDD's report.

Wholesale trade was down by 28.6 percent, or 60 jobs, over the past year, and leisure and hospitality jobs dropped by 23.5 percent, or 270 jobs.

Largest losses by numbers came in the subcategory of “total private” nonfarm industries, which lost 450 jobs.

Subcategories that showed job gains included government, which had an overall 1 percent gain; within that subcategory, the federal government showed job increases of 20 jobs locally, or 14.3 percent, from last year and 10 jobs or a 6.7-percent increase from December; followed by state government, with grew by 6.7 percent or 10 jobs from the previous year and had no changes from the previous month.

Local government added 20 jobs over the year but was down 40 jobs from December, the report added.

“Other services” also gained 10 jobs over the year, or 3.3 percent, but was down 10 jobs from December, for a 3.1 percent loss.

For Lake County's cities and towns, Clearlake Oaks had the highest unemployment rate, at 28.6 percent, while Upper Lake had the lowest, with 10.3 percent.

For other areas of the county the following unemployment rates were reported: Nice, 28 percent; city of Clearlake, 27.6 percent; Lucerne, 20.7 percent; Middletown and Kelseyville tied, each with 20 percent; city of Lakeport, 19 percent; Cobb, 17.6 percent; Lower Lake, 16.5 percent; Hidden Valley Lake, 16.3 percent; and north Lakeport, 15.7 percent.

Lake's neighboring counties posted the following rates and state rankings: Glenn, 18 percent, No. 42; Mendocino, 12.7 percent, No. 19; Napa, 11.1 percent, No. 10; Sonoma, 11.3 percent, No. 11; and Yolo, 14.8 percent, No. 28.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

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