The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County made significant improvement in February as more people were able to join the area's workforce, according to the latest report from the Employment Development Department.
February's unadjusted unemployment rate in Stanislaus County came in at 14.9 percent, which is a dip from the revised 15.6 percent unemployment rate reported for January and the year-ago estimate of 16.8 percent.
It has been several years since Stanislaus County had a February unemployment rate below 15 percent. In 2012 the first time the county had an unemployment rate below 15 percent was in August, when agricultural jobs are at a peak.
"It's a substantial difference from what we had just last year," said EDD Labor Market Analyst Natividad Martinez.
In Ceres the unemployment rate is now at 18.5 percent with 15,300 employed out of a job market of 18,700. It was 19.3 percent in January. Hughson's rate went from 20.2 percent in January to 19.3 percent in February. Keyes had an unemployment rate of 25.9 percent, down from 26.9 percent.
Stanislaus County's labor force fell by an estimated 500 workers in February, but the number of employed grew by an estimated 1,100 people and the unemployed dropped an estimated 1,600 people, according to the EDD's report.
For the year-over the number of unemployed in the county has decreased an estimated 12 percent, Martinez said.
Manufacturing, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, government, and professional and business services all recorded job growth for February. The retail and construction sectors shed jobs in February, but both were up in hiring for the year-over.
"There are lots of seasonal things than can affect the month, but the year-over numbers show a positive growth," Martinez said.
California's unemployment rate decreased to 9.6 percent to and the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in the same time period.
From February 2012 to February 2013, the number of unemployed in California has dropped an estimated 209,000, according to the EDD.
According to EDD data, the Stanislaus County employers posting the most help wanted ads for January were: E.&J. Gallo Winery - 192; Sutter Health - 75; Ceres Unified School District - 65; Kaiser Permanente - 53; Tenet Health - 51; CVS Caremark - 38; Supplemental Health Care - 37; AT&T - 37; Soliant - 36; and Edward Jones - 35.