Placer, regional jobless rates on the rise

Seasonal downturn after holiday shopping season partly to blame
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The post-Christmas spending drop-off is being blamed for an increase in unemployment in Placer County and surrounding counties.

The unemployment rate for Placer, El Dorado, Sacramento and Yolo counties in January rose from 9.7 percent in December to 10.3 percent in January, according to state Employment Development Department figures released Friday.

The unemployment rate was lowest in Placer County, at 8.9 percent. The jobless rate in December was 8.6 percent. El Dorado’s was 10 percent and Sacramento County’s was 10.3 percent. Yolo County had the highest unemployment rate in the area, at 12.7 percent.

Heather Chamizo, Northern California regional manager for the Labor Market Information Division, said Friday that the result was not surprising and reflected similar dropoffs in previous years as retailers let go extra help after the busy Christmas buying season.

“Retail drops off in January,” Chamizo said. “It’s typical because of seasonal hiring in December. The good news is that it has dropped off a little less than what we normally expect.”

A total of 3,900 jobs were lost in the retail trade category. The region recorded a total of 834,000 jobs.

Construction was another area of job losses over the month, with a total of 1,100. Chamizo said the rainy season came later than normal, allowing construction to continue. The dropoff was later but still a normal sign of the season she said. Similar to retail, the dropoff wasn’t as significant as it has been in other years, Chamizo said.

“Although the numbers are down it doesn’t look like doom and gloom,” Chamizo said.

The trade, transportation and utilities category had the biggest monthly drop in jobs but Chamizo said that taken in the context of a year-over-year comparison, the losses were not as bad. A total of 5,600 jobs were lost but since last January, the sector has still grown by 6,000 jobs, she said.

Retail has also surged year-over-year, with 3,300 more jobs this January.

“Although there were losses on a monthly basis, the sector is still in a growth pattern,” Chamizo said.

Chamizo said Placer County regularly has the lowest unemployment rate in the area partly because the totals aren’t based on the number of jobs lost or gained within a county. Instead the numbers are derived from a count of the number of workers with or without jobs within a county. Placer County is considered a more affluent area, while Yolo County – with a dependence on construction and agricultural jobs – can be affected by seasonality of types of employment there, Chamizo said. 


Darin Pointer opened his storefront on High Street in Auburn about a month ago and is already considering bringing on an intern, with thoughts of eventually hiring an employee to work with him at the digital print business.

“I hope the economy is getting better – it seems to be getting better,” Pointer said. “Hopefully, we’ll be busy enough to hire somebody. Jobs are good for the economy.”