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Unemployment rate ticks up locally in March
Alliance hopes to jumpstart hiring of workers
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The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County showed a slight increase in March, according to the latest report from the Employment Development Department, however a new program from the Alliance has the potential to send it in the opposite direction.

The unemployment rate in March for Stanislaus County came in at 13.6 percent, up from a revised February rate of 13.3 percent. The rate is below the year-ago estimate of 14.3 percent.

There were an estimated 206,000 employed people in Stanislaus County in March and an approximate 32,300 unemployed, according to the EDD.

In an effort to put some of those long-term unemployed individuals back into the workforce, the Alliance has kicked off their "Jumpstart Stanislaus" campaign. The first component of the campaign runs through June 30 and focuses on job training and wage reimbursement opportunities for local businesses. The wage reimbursement is funded through federal and state grants. To qualify, businesses need to hire long-term unemployed workers or veterans. Reimbursement rates for businesses during the training period can range from 50 to 90 percent based on company size.

"We are seeing some good economic indicators, and we feel now is the time to do something to ‘jumpstart" the economy,'" said Alliance Worknet Director Jeff Rowe.

The "Jumpstart Stanislaus" campaign is similar to a previous campaign the Alliance conducted, Stan Together, which added an estimated 1,100 jobs to the area.

"The economy is starting to turn around now," said Rowe. "When we launched the StanTogether campaign in 2012 businesses were leery to hire new staff. We encouraged our local businesses to take a leap of faith and the partnership paid off. With local businesses expanding and confidence increasing we are hopeful that Jumpstart Stanislaus will exceed our expectations."

For the month of March most sectors in Stanislaus County either saw a slight increase or decrease. Manufacturing, Trade, Transportation and Utilities, and Education and Health Services all added an estimated 100 new positions each, while Construction and Information each saw declines of about 100 positions, according to the EDD. Financial Activities, Professional and Business Services, Leisure and Hospitality, and Other Services were all flat for the month.

The two sectors to record the highest job gains were farming, which added around 200 positions, and government, which added an estimated 400 positions, the EDD reported.

The unemployment rate in the state was at 8.4 percent in March and the nation's unemployment rate for the same time period was at 6.8 percent.

Ceres saw a jump from 16.6 percent to 16.9 percent. Hughson saw an increase from 17.4 percent to 17.7 percent, as did Keyes, which saw an increase from 23.5 percent in February to 23.8 percent in March. Turlock recorded a small increase in unemployment, rising from 10.1 percent in February to 10.3 percent in March. Denair's rate grew to 7.4 percent, up from 7.3 percent in February.

The jobs and professions having the most help wanted ads in Stanislaus County for March were: Registered Nurses - 412; Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers - 221; Customer Service Representatives - 167; Retail Salespersons - 167; First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers - 119; Physical Therapists - 114; Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing - 96; Insurance Sales Agents - 96; Occupational Therapists - 86; and Critical Care Nurses - 83.

The 10 companies that posted the most help wanted ads for March in Stanislaus County were: TruStaff - 125; Supplemental Health Care - 103; Ceres Unified School District - 91; Tenet Healthcare Corporation - 77; E. & J. Gallo Winery - 66; Sutter Health - 48; Shomax - 45; Miceli Watters, Staffing Partners - 40; Soliant - 39; and AT&T - 35.

The Modesto EDD will hold their annual Veteran's job fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 6 at the Modesto Junior College West Campus in the Mary Stuart Rogers Student Learning Center at 2201 Blue Gum Ave. More than 40 employers are expected to be on hand to discuss job openings. Job seekers are encouraged to dress appropriately and bring resumes. The job fair is free and open to the public.