Saturday, June 19, 2010

Jobless rate dips again in Solano County

Jobless rate dips again in Solano County
Posted: 06/19/2010 01:05:35 AM PDT

The employment picture for Solano County improved slightly in May, the third month in a row that unemployment rates have dropped locally.
Unemployment in the Solano County was 11.8 percent in May, down from a revised 12.2 percent in April and 13 percent in March. It was, however, above the year-ago estimate of 10.3 percent.

Still, the picture was slightly better than the 11.9 percent unemployment rate for California last month.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate in May was 9.3 percent.

Vallejo had the highest jobless rate in Solano County last month at 14.4 percent, followed by Fairfield at 12.9 percent and Suisun City at 12.1 percent.

Solano County as a whole saw the number of jobs grow by 700 from April to May. Most of those were farm-related jobs, though 200 were in the Leisure and Hospitality employment category.

Mike Ammann, Solano Economic Development Corporation president, said the slight drop in unemployment is good but not dramatic enough for any celebration.

"Unfortunately, I think we still have a long way to go," he said. "We have seen a small pick-up in residential construction, which has been the area hit hardest ... but I don't see a surge. It's going to be more of a slow transition upward."

Vacaville is coming through the recession somewhat better, he added, because it has a diversified economy from shopping and retail outlets that attract Interstate 80 drivers, to more high-end jobs at local biotech facilities. And the completion of the Kaiser hospital has helped with the local economy.

Vallejo, he said, has struggled with much of its job base in government, health care and education facilities such as Solano Community College and Touro University.

"There is some good news with a new Lowe's center coming," he said, adding that plans for a downtown transit station in Vallejo will help the city as well.

What ultimately will make a difference, however, has to happen outside of Solano County, Ammann said.

"If the state could get its financial situation in order, it would help all of us," he said.