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County unemployment rate drops to 6.2%

The state and county unemployment rates both fell from last month and last year, to 7.4 percent across California and 6.2 percent in San Diego County.

The county unemployment rate is down from 6.6 percent in July and 7.5 percent in August 2013, now the 16th lowest rate among counties in the state. The labor force grew from 1,602,400 people in July to 1,607,900 in August, with the number of employed San Diegans is up by 12,000 to 1,508,000 nonfarm workers based on not seasonally adjusted data, or 1,349,400 using seasonally adjusted figures. The number of unemployed in the workforce was down by 6,600 from July.

The region gained 3,500 jobs from last month and 34,200 from last year, 6,800 of which were in the construction sector — a 10.8 percent increase year-over-year. The manufacturing industry also grew, adding 2,200 jobs from August 2013.

Michael Combs, research manager at the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., said San Diego’s ability to buck the national trend of a lower unemployment rate due to a shrinking workforce is positive news.

“Nationally we saw a decline in unemployment but that was driven by people leaving the labor force, so people who didn’t continue looking for jobs,” Combs said. “The positive news is that in San Diego we had kind of expected that to happen, but instead saw the drop in unemployment driven by people looking for jobs and finding jobs, not because people stopped looking for work.”

On a local level Combs said the booming construction industry is a good sign, since that sector is a leading indicator of the health of our economy, and said the strength of San Diego’s innovation economy is also promising.

“Private sector industries continue to drive the regional economy, with professional scientific and technology services, which is a key driver of our innovation economy -- growing at 6 percent, about 2.5 times the total growth of our economy,” Combs said.

Statewide, the labor force grew by 59,200 people, with the number of employed up by 133,400 from July and the unemployed total down by 74,200 using not seasonally adjusted data. The seasonally adjusted number of nonfarm employees in the state was 15,539,600 in August. The California unemployment rate in July was 7.9 percent and was 8.8 percent in August 2013.

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