Unemployment in the Bay Area continued to drop in December, capping off a year where the local job market continued to rebound from the ravages of the Great Recession.
Most Bay Area counties' unadjusted jobless rate dropped another 0.2 percent to 0.3 percent in the last month of 2011, according to the California Employment Development Department, continuing a pattern of positive movement in the unemployment rate that was interrupted only by a bump in June.
Santa Clara County's unadjusted unemployment rate fell from 9 percent in November to 8.7 percent in December, Alameda and Contra Costa counties both dipped from 9.5 percent to 9.3 percent, and San Mateo County decreased from 7.5 percent to 7.2 percent.
Those advances are reflected in the yearly averages for the counties as well: Santa Clara County had an average unemployment rate of 9.8 in 2011, down from 11.1 in 2010; Alameda County's average unadjusted rate for 2011 was 10.4, down from 11.3; Contra Costa County averaged a 10.5 percent rate, down from 11.2 percent; and San Mateo County had a yearly average rate of 8.1 percent on 2011, down from 8.9 percent in 2010.
The only Bay Area counties to experience an increase in joblessness in December were Santa Cruz and San Benito counties; Santa Cruz County jumped from 10.8 percent to 12.2 percent and San Benito County increased from 13 percent to 16 percent, mostly due to seasonal losses in agricultural work.
California's unemployment rate fell at about the same clip as the Bay Area's in December: Adjusted for seasonal variances, the state posted an unemployment rate of 11.1 percent, down from 11.3 percent in November. Nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 10,700 last month, for a total gain of 240,300 jobs in 2011. The biggest growth came in areas of construction, information, professional and business services, educational and health services and government.
The national unemployment rate was 8.5 percent for December, down from 8.7 percent.
Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/mercbizbreak.