Siskiyou's unemployment dips to lowest level since October 2008

Skye Kinkade

Siskiyou’s unemployment rate dipped nearly two points to 11.1 percent in May – the lowest it’s been since October, 2008, when it was recorded at 8.9 percent. However, the rate remains five percentage points higher from a pre-recession low in 2006.

The drop followed consecutive decreases in February, March and April, with a total four month decrease of 6.3 percentage points, according to statistics released today from the state’s Employment Development Department.

One year ago, in May 2012, the unemployment rate sat at 14.6 percent. The drop of 3.5 percentage points is the county’s largest year over year decrease in modern record keeping, which began in 1990, said EDD Northern Mountains Labor Market Information Consultant Sheila Stock.

“From its most recent peak in May 2011 (15.6 percent) through May 2013, Siskiyou County’s unemployment rate fell 4.5 percentage points. Despite this improvement, the county’s May 2013 unemployment rate remained five percentage points higher than its pre-recession low of six percent in October 2006,” Stock said.

In looking at industry numbers, total wage and salary jobs are still down, year over year, by 140, Stock said. In the past month, however, 450 jobs were added to the Siskiyou County economy.

The largest increase was seen in government, Stock pointed out. All sectors of the government added jobs in May: 140 in federal 140, 50 in state 50, and 110 in local government.

Part of the unemployment decrease in Siskiyou County is due to a shrinking labor force, though Stock said this is a trend in most northern California counties.

Comparative figures

EDD statistics show 2,090 of Siskiyou’s 18,890 person workforce are unemployed.

Siskiyou is now ranked 43rd out of California’s 58 counties in terms of unemployment. At the top of the list is Marin County, where 4.5 percent of the workforce is unemployed. Imperial County is ranked last with a rate of 22.8 percent.

Nearby Shasta County is ranked 35th with a rate of 10 percent.

Statewide, the rate dropped to 8.6 percent from 9 percent in April.