Unemployment in East Bay Rises, But Not in San Ramon

The unemployment rates in Alameda and Contra Costa counties edged up slightly last month. Still, California added nearly 30,000 jobs in June, more than the country as a whole.

The East Bay economy is pretty well in sync with these languid summer days, employment data released Friday shows.

The unemployment rate in the Oakland-Fremont-Hayward metropolitan area was 10.9 percent in June, up slightly from 10.2 percent in May, according to figures from the state Employment Development Department.

There were nearly 5,000 fewer jobs available in the East Bay last month compared with a year ago.

The number of unemployed Contra Costa County shifted to a few percentage points up to 11 percent. San Ramon didn’t see any change. The rate here in June was 4.3 percent, the same as May.

The number of unemployed Alameda County residents increased by 5,500 from May to June to 80,900, according to the data.

California added nearly 30,000 jobs last month, beating the national job-growth figure. The United States added just 18,000 jobs in June.

The national unemployment rate stands at a stagnant 9.2 percent.

As the recession drags on, employers are finding ways to increase productivity with fewer employees, said Scott Peterson, deputy director of the public-private East Bay Economic Development Alliance.

“When you increase productivity, that’s a good thing, but only in the measure of getting more done and spending less money,” Peterson said.

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean there’s much more job creation.”

Peterson said he’s hopeful that companies will start hiring again when the economy picks up, “but the difficulty is no one is really sure when that’s going to be.”

Some economic sectors did better than others in June.

Most of the jobs created in the East Bay last month were in the professional and business services sector (2,900 jobs) and the leisure and hospitality sector (2,600 jobs), according to the state data.

The beleaguered construction industry added 1,800 jobs last month. Most of the jobs gained were specialty trade contractors (1,200 jobs) — double the average number gained in this sub-industry between May and June over the last 21 years, according to Cindy Sugrue from the EDD’s labor market information division in Concord.

Sugrue said this could be thanks to significant highway construction in the East Bay.

Cuts to public school budgets over the past year have led to thousands of local jobs lost in that sector.

Local and state public schools lost 3,400 jobs over the past year, accounting for nearly 60 percent of the jobs shed from state government payrolls since June 2010, according to the data.

At the same time, private educational and health services gained 3,500 jobs over the past year.

California’s unemployment rate hit 12.1 percent and the nation’s went to 9.3 percent.

 
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