Napa County’s Unemployment Rate is 3rd Lowest in California

California’s unemployment rate remained steady at 11.6 percent from May to June, the highest in modern record-keeping. The jobless rate for Napa is the third lowest of any California county.
The federal government last month reported an 11.5 percent jobless rate in California but later revised the number to 11.6 percent. In Napa, the unemployment rate for June was 8.3 percent, down two-tenths of a point from May and down from April’s 9 percent.

27 Responses to “Napa County’s Unemployment Rate is 3rd Lowest in California”

  1. 1 Jessie Maguire July 19, 2009 at 2:49 PM

    Napa is an expensive place to live in, especially with the economy the way it is today. In order for people to live here they need a well paying, steady job. The fact that Napa has lowered its unemployment rate indicates that more jobs have been created and people are willing and ready to take them. Meanwhile the constant rate of unemployment in California as a whole shows that eventhough times are tough employers are trying to keep jobs open. The unemployment rate may be high, but at least it’s not growing.

  2. 2 Nick Rood July 20, 2009 at 9:23 PM

    It is great to hear that Napa is doing so well relative to the rest of the state. My only concern is to what degree the study factors in temporary work, part time jobs and other employment opportunities that are based on an increase in tourism and wine production. Tasting rooms are looking to increase staff for the influx of travelers, wineries have begun to hire Harvest workers in the cellar/lab and other production areas and, overall, Napa has come out of it’s winter hibernation. What will happen to the unemployment rate once Fall has ended? Harvest is over, the number of tourists dwindle, and so do the employment opportunities. It would be great if Napa continued to decrease unemployment year-round, or even hold steady during the winter, but I cannot see wineries keeping on staff that they could get by without.

  3. 3 Sara Tirado July 21, 2009 at 12:35 AM

    I am not surprised Napa is doing so well in this bad economy. Many well-off people live in Napa County. The wine industry seems to be doing pretty good in these hard times. I see buildings are still going up and new stores are opening. However, I see alot of businesses closing. So, I have to ask, how accurate are the stats? Or, just how bad are other city’s doing?

  4. 4 Dave Crider July 21, 2009 at 7:05 AM

    I am sure the wine industry is playing a big part in these numbers. Though I am sure there has been some drop in wine sales I don’t think it would be enough to cause the wine industry to have any kind of a down trend in employment. I still worry about our education workers once the budget our California lawmakers have been working on gets released.

  5. 5 Caroline Rice July 21, 2009 at 1:30 PM

    I am not too surprised to hear this about Napa. Most of the industry here is wine and tourism, but for a global market. When you do not have to depend on just the local economy to support your business then you can have more stable revenue. The Bay Area is known for wine and food. Since this is a cornerstone to the appeal of many places like restaurants, I would imagine that they would still be ordering wines to have on hand and on their menus. Unless a winery is expanding winery operations or trying to produce a new variety right now, I would think that they would not require a lot of available capital at this time, so that money can go to getting through this recession. The wine industry has to know how to make their monies last and work a long-term budget. When you plant the grapes, that is just an early step in a process that can take several years before you start to see profits coming in. Also, many wineries do not have a great deal of fulltime staff and just ramp up their staff numbers for harvest, so their overhead doesn’t need to be as high. I think that the harvest this year will cause the Napa unemployment rate to drop for a few months this year.

  6. 6 Amanda Smith July 21, 2009 at 2:59 PM

    This news really surprised me. I have several friends and family that cant seem to find a job around here, no matter how hard they look. And most of the people from my old work would love to leave their job like I did, but are afraid that if they do they wont be able to find another job. And I know that us having one of the lowest unemployment rates is only the lesser of the evils, but it’s still good news.

  7. 7 Shannon Lackey July 21, 2009 at 4:05 PM

    I think Napa’s unemployment rate seems low because everywhere else is extremely high. 8% is not a good number at all. In December I think it was at 7.8, so it is still higher than before by quite a bit. It may be decreasing a little due to tourist season and a few more jobs are available, but I wont be surprised if that number falls back down again after the season is over. I am speaking from personal experience because my old job closed down in December due to economic reasons and the job market was rough and unemployment was scarce. Now in the hospitality business is picking up, but not like we want it to be. The few people that can still afford to vacation are doing so, but it doesn’t make up for the whole middle class that have been beaten up financially from this economy. I think this summer is given a little hope to the Napa community, but I am still waiting to see if this winter will be another harsh time when there is little tourism to keep most businesses afloat.

  8. 8 Nick Rood July 21, 2009 at 7:38 PM

    I believe that a lot of people forget that higher end wine is very much a luxory item that most people have cut back on. People will always continue to enjoy wine, but in tough times they get creative. They look inexpensive wines from other countries that are still producing a quality product, or they look to other regions in the US/California that don’t have the same price tag. Some wineries are down millions of dollars in revenue, some around 30-50% of previous years. There may be a global market for tourists, but very few are looking to buy anything on a large scale, for it is too complicated/pricey to take anything home. Restaurants and wine shops have seen a decrease in sales, and most wineries are finding it harder and harder to move their product.

    On a side note, one of the reasons Napa may be doing well (relatively) on unemployment, is that a lot of people who move here already have a job. Those who are not interested in the wine/food business leave. I know that is not all Napa has to offer, but it’s a hard factor to ignore.

  9. 9 Sanamjit Bains July 21, 2009 at 8:29 PM

    Napa has a well established wine industry which has made a lot of profit in the past year and the current economic condition will not effect it significantly. Napa has mostly agricultural labour which is needed for its vast vineyards, as compared to others that have service labour which can be reduced quickly to adjust with the current market condition.

  10. 10 Joseph Garcia July 23, 2009 at 7:07 PM

    That’s good to hear, but 8.3 percent is still rather high. What strikes me is the overall 11.6 percent of California. I’m really hoping President Obama’s stimulus plans will help out. I know my brother isn’t going to even try to get a job when he graduates college next year. He’s just going to finish up graduate work to be more competitive in the low employment rate these days.

  11. 11 Kit t Kat July 24, 2009 at 9:40 AM

    It is better that California unemployment rate is not growing, but instead is steady. People relie on workers to provide services that we use and this is how people get money to buy things they need. Hopefuly the California unemployment rate will decrease so anyone who wants to work will. It is good that despite joblessness, in Napa the unemployment rate is low compared to other counties.

  12. 12 Jessica Schimke July 24, 2009 at 6:17 PM

    I can’t say that I’m surprised to hear all this. I was born and raised in Napa, and it seems as though those who live here have a definite advantage over those who just recently come here. The housing market is no exception.. for those who have family here and inherit a house, obtaining a house is simple compared to newcomers. Same goes for jobs. Those who live here, have ties here, and are familiar with what is available, have a much easier time finding employment than newcomers. And once a job is filled, it seems to stay that way for a relatively long period of time (always the same faces in the same places).. people aren’t jumping from one job to another.

  13. 13 Abby July 26, 2009 at 2:02 PM

    It is interesting, but not bewildering, why Napa’s unemployment rate is lower than the rest of California’s high rate of 11.3%. First, Napa is known for its wealth, especially vineyard owners, but Napa County’s median household income ($61,988) is only $2000 above California’s median household income ($59,929). Regardless of the apparent wealth in Napa County, there are still far more farm workers and manual laborers than vineyard owners, for example. And because these laborers are primarily employed by the relatively “recession proof” (whatever that means…) industry of agriculture, they are retaining their jobs while higher-earning investment bankers are remaining unemployed elsewhere.

    Second, while job opportunities in Napa may seem to be one-dimensional, there are far less people per 2000 sq. miles in Napa (164.8) than in California as a whole (217.2). So there may be a smaller quantity and variety of jobs to be had in Napa, but there are also less people to employ, and very few people commute from outside Napa County to work in Napa. One could say its a more “self-sustaining,” or insulated, economy than the San Francisco Bay Area, where people work, shop, etc, over many county lines.

  14. 14 Kendall July 26, 2009 at 9:48 PM

    I think that Napa Valley’s agricultural preserve has a lot to do with Napa’s low unemployment number. Less people live here than in most of counties in CA. People who live here (in general) have a secure income. Napa is just different. It also is an agricultural community, which does make a lot of difference. In the 1920s and 30s Napa survived the Depression relatively well because residents were farmers and grew most of their own food. Not that that is the case today but Napa is still a farming community and wine is still a product people will buy. Not the $1000 bottle of wine but rather the $30 or $20 bottle of wine.
    I also second what was said in previous comments that a lot of seasonal and part-time staff are added to wineries during the summer and fall seasons for harvest and the large amount of tourists who visit. But the winter leaves the wineries and restaurants quite bare. So those workers will be let go in the winter but in the mean time they do have a job but when those figures of unemployment are released we have to think what could other factors be that caused this number?

  15. 15 Lauren Swartz July 27, 2009 at 9:00 AM

    I think Kendall makes an interesting point about Napa’s slow growth policies- they certainly helped temper the effects of the housing crisis by preventing too many new developments from springing up at the height of the boom. I don’t think that this can emplain our unemployment rate however. More likely our unemployment rate is dampened by Napa County’s efforts to encourage tourism, even during a stormy economic climate.

    While other cities cancelled even their Fourth of July fireworks, just this year Napa introduced its “Napa Nights” programs including DJs at local bars, live music festivals, car shows and movies in the park on a weekly basis. This community atmosphere stimulates local businesses, keeps tourists and local residents in town and out and about when they might otherwise not be, and employs individuals to arrande and perform and the events. Our county’s willingness to invest in our community is a huge advantage in the current economic crisis.

  16. 16 Alma Tenorio July 27, 2009 at 12:12 PM

    I believe for the type of work available here in Napa has seen an increase in jobs. As I have noticed from my current job, there has been an increase of clientele and increase in more employees needed. As I work in the hospitality business I can see that all similar businesses are experiencing the same rise in clientele. Hopefully we can see this improvement increase and bring us back to a stable economy.

  17. 17 Heather August 2, 2009 at 2:12 PM

    Napa and Sonoma county are ridiculously expensive to live in. And there is nowhere to work: I have to drive half an hour away just to work a minimum wage paying job. Many cannot even get that, because jobs here mainly lie in the wine tourist industry, of which no jobs can be created.

  18. 18 Alejandro Cortez August 4, 2009 at 2:02 PM

    Gambling, cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol have all shown resistance to recessions in the past and most have actually spiked upward during times of financial woes. So the fact that the California’s Wine Country has the third lowest unemployment rate in the state is not surprising. Other respondents have made good points about seasonal work helping the statistics rise during the summer months. But I also believe that this county has fared better than most. Wine has gained popularity over the years and tourism to this region has grown over the decades. While gas and hotel room prices have increased, the tourist season this year seems to be doing better than last year. This is reflected in the unemployment rates for this region.

  19. 19 Stacey Smarker August 5, 2009 at 7:16 AM

    I am a little shocked at this becuase I thought that Napa would be on e of he highest because we are in the wine industry. Wine is a luxery good for most people, with e the recession the price of wine has lowered. The unemployment rate most likely was caused by the area of Napa. Many of the people that live here are wealthy and have more education versthoes who don’t. You would thing that thes peopl ewould keep thier job in the recession.

  20. 20 Hailey Cook August 6, 2009 at 9:57 AM

    Personally I work in the Wine industry here, and I have first hand witnessed this intense loss of work here in the valley, when the county you live in such as Napa, thrives on tourism and you have a poor economy at the moment, what else are to expect but a cutback in jobs, on the upside there is going to be a major improvement of this with the opening of a Kohls in Napa, that will hire at least 100 employees, this is very good news, and there needs to be continued stimulus for other sources of employment rather than namely the wine industry for people in the area.

  21. 21 E. Speizer August 6, 2009 at 2:50 PM

    Napa is in better shape than most places in California, but that still doesn’t mean we’re in GOOD shape. As others have mentioned, the rich will keep being rich, and lots of wealthy people spend their money in the wine country. Though tourism is heavily down, Napa’s economy still gets enough stimulation to be alright.

  22. 22 Maricar De Los Reyes August 6, 2009 at 3:30 PM

    At least Napa is remaining steady. I know quite a few people from Napa that have lost their jobs, but at least the whole area in general has low unemployment rates. Napa has a wealth of money around. Its crazy how you can drive 30 min away from the hills of Napa and you’ll find families that aren’t as fortunate, living on very low incomes. I can see that tourism has gone down increasingly. I’m a massage therapist, and the amount of work I’ve had recently is almost half of what I used to have. Clients I had weekly, can’t even come once a month anymore. Its very frustrating.

  23. 23 Patrick Powers August 6, 2009 at 3:51 PM

    Well we all know this is true because of the wine industry, tourism and the small population Napa is. Napa is no city, more of a town as it has less than 100 thousand residents. With the wine industry being a huge success, Napa and its employees are able to make it great due to tourism. And with its small population size to cities compared to like LA and San Francisco, of course our rates and percentages are going to be better than the prime cities.

  24. 24 Juan Balderas-Econ 101 August 6, 2009 at 10:00 PM

    napa is lucky in that there aren’t the large number of empty storefronts and complexes that you see in nearby counties. However, we can’t be entirely certain to the unemployment rate because of the number of undocumented workers in Napa county that aren’t being tracked. Napa county is fortunate to have the comparatively strong economy and job market it has.

  25. 25 Nicole Hernandez September 10, 2009 at 7:31 AM

    During these times, its hard to find a job here in Napa. It is such an expensive place to live and many people are loosing or have lost their job and they cannot find one. It seems like no one is hiring right now. I work at a bank and a majority of the time customers tell me that it is their last pay check they are receiving because they have been laid off. In addition, most of the checks we receive are unemployment checks. Its sad to imagine how much these families will have to sacrifice to be able to be well off.

  26. 26 Nathan Couch December 17, 2009 at 11:49 AM

    Napa county may have had the lowest then but an area I just moved back from (Shasta County) was the second hardest county to get a job in (source: friend worked as a cameraman for local news and they did a piece). In fact it’s so difficult that for my stepbrother to get a job almost TWO YEARS ago he had to check at the same every day at the same time for close to two months before he got the job.

    Other stories I’ve got from people is dressing up in a suit-dress and checking on applications as well as fill new ones out for close to 9 months before she got a job that just barely paid over minimum wage.

  27. 27 Colette Whitney May 18, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    That is sad to hear that napa has such a low unemployment rate. It I live in Sonoma County and go to Napa quite often. Im sure the unemployment rate is due to the wineries because that is Napa’s biggest industry is wine. Due to the recession im sure some of the wineries were laying off people because of less tourism and less people purchasing fine wine. Once the economy is better the wineries will do better because people will have more money to spend on wine tasting and purchasing wine. The unemployment rate will no doubt rise after that.

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