Farming jobs boosted county employment in April

Skye Kinkade

With the addition of nearly 300 farming jobs in the county last month, Siskiyou’s unemployment rate dropped more than two full points, from 15.4 percent in March to 12.9 percent in April.

This is the lowest unemployment rate for the month of April since 2008, when it was recorded at 9.2 percent, said Sheila Stock, Northern Mountains Labor Market Information Consultant with the state’s Employment Development Department.

“In April 2009 the rate jumped to 14.2 percent,” Stock said, “so Siskiyou County is better than recession levels for the unemployment rate but not quite at pre-recession levels.”

Stock said the addition of 290 farming jobs is typical for this time of year.

Jobs were added in nearly every sector, most notably in the manufacturing of non-durable goods; transportation, warehousing and utilities; and the federal government industries, according to information released Friday morning by the EDD. However, as far as year over year numbers, Siskiyou County is down 230 jobs with the majority of the losses attributed to government, Stock said.

“If we looked at private sector jobs only, the county is down 60 jobs,” said Stock.

The decline in the unemployment rate is partly due to a loss of labor force, Stock said, a trend she’s noticed not just in Siskiyou but in many northern California counties.

“The labor force for Siskiyou hasn’t been this low since April 2007, when there were 18,480 people either working or looking for work,” said Stock. Last month, the work force had dwindled to 18,680, according to EDD statistics.

This could be attributed to more people retiring, discouraged workers giving up looking for work, or people having to leave the area for work, Stock said.

Statewide, the unemployment rate declined to 12.9 percent in April as compared to 15.4 in March. The US unemployment rate dropped to 7.1 percent from 7.6 in March.

Siskiyou County is now ranked 45 out of California’s 58 counties in terms of unemployment. Imperial County, at the far southern end of the state, is at the bottom of the list with a jobless rate of 24 percent. Marin County is again ranked number one with a rate of 4.6 percent.

Nearby Shasta County ranks 36 with a rate of 11.1 percent, according to the EDD.