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Unemployment takes a dip in county

The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County fell in April and continues to fall below the year-ago estimates, according to the latest report from the Employment Development Department.

The unemployment rate for the county in April came in at 6.4 percent, down from a revised rate of 7.1 percent in March and below the year-ago estimate of 8 percent.

The month saw most sectors in Stanislaus County posting job gains or remaining steady, except for two, which posted job losses for the month.

The Farming sector added the most jobs for the month at approximately 400 and was followed by the Leisure and Hospitality sector, which added an estimated 300 positions. Construction and Educational and Health Services each added around 200 positions in April and Professional and Business Services added about 100.

The two sectors posting job losses for the month were Manufacturing and Government, which each lost an estimated 200 positions in April.

California's unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent in April - a new record low in a series dating back to the beginning of 1976 - and the state's employers added 39,300 nonfarm payroll jobs, according to the EDD. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent, while the nation's employers added 164,000 nonfarm payroll jobs.

While the ranks of unemployed in Stanislaus County have been declining, the wages are largely below the national average, according to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report found that the average worker in the Modesto metropolitan area, which includes all of Stanislaus County, earned $22.10 per hour in May 2017, about 9 percent below the U.S. average of $24.34 per hour.

Management occupations in the area were highest paid at $47.71 per hour, followed by healthcare practitioners and technical occupations at $44.52 per hour. The average wage for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations was 15 percent above the national average.

Ceres had an unemployment rate of 7.4 percent in April, down from the 8 percent in March. Hughson had an April rate of 5.3 percent, down slightly from the 5.9 percent posted in March. Keyes saw a drop from 14.4 percent in March to 12.5 percent. Turlock's unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent in April, down from 5 percent in March.

The occupations with the most help wanted ads in Stanislaus County for April were: Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers - 588; Registered Nurses - 331; Retail Salespersons - 150; First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers - 117; Maintenance and Repair Workers - 101; Customer Service Representatives - 99; Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers - 83; Security Guards - 79; Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education - 76; and First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers - 75.

The 10 companies that posted the most help wanted ads for April in Stanislaus County were: Tenet Healthcare Corporation - 199; Ceres Unified School District - 108; Modesto City Schools - 103; Turlock Unified School District - 94; Sutter Health - 86; Kaiser Permanente - 65; E&J Gallo - 62; Robert Half International - 53; California State University System - 53; and Nationwide Professional Resources, Inc. - 53.