Napa County jobless rate drops to 3% in December

Napa County’s jobless rate dipped in December, but don’t expect more of the same in January or February, according to one local employment expert.

The unemployment rate in Napa County was 3% in December 2022, down from a revised 3.2% in November and below the year-ago estimate of 4.1%, the state Employment Development Department reported on Friday.

That compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 3.7% for California and 3.3% for the U.S. during the same period, the EDD said.

Year over year, Napa County industries with increased hiring included farm, construction, leisure and hospitality positions.

The number of food services and drinking places jobs in Napa County rose from 6,800 in December 2021 to 7,300 in December 2022. At that same time, the number of accommodation jobs increased from 10,800 to 11,700.

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However, retail, transportation and warehousing jobs saw slight declines year over year.

The number of unemployed workers in Napa County dropped from 2,700 in December 2021 to 2,000 last month.

According to Maria Lorenzana, staffing specialist at Napa’s Star Staffing recruiting office, the jobless rate will likely not fall again in January and February.

That’s because those two months are usually the quietest when it comes to Napa County’s wine industry, she pointed out.

Typically, “the job opportunities disappear during the first quarter of the year,” Lorenzana said.

While hiring is currently slow, many people who normally work in the wine industry “are taking any kind of jobs at the moment because of course rent doesn’t stop,” she added.

Come February, hiring to work on bottling lines will start its season. 

“Hospitality (hiring) picks up mid-to-late March,” Lorenzana noted. “And then from May to November it’s extremely busy.”

Star Staffing specializes in hiring light industrial, hospitality, winery and administrative jobs, she noted.

In her experience, entry-level jobs, such as warehousing or bottling lines, can range from $17 to $18 per hour. Workers with additional skills or certifications can earn around $20 to $22 per hour. Administrative workers can potentially earn $25 to $28 per hour, depending on position, experience and employer. 

Effective Jan. 1, 2023, the minimum wage is $15.50 per hour for all California employers, regardless of business size. Some cities and counties have higher minimums than the state’s rate.

As of October, two cities in the Bay Area had the highest minimum wage: Mountain View and Sunnyvale, both at $17.10 hourly.

Job interviews can be dreadful, especially when they ask “tell me about a time you failed?” Buzz60’s Maria Mercedes Galuppo has the story.

You can reach reporter Jennifer Huffman at 707-256-2218 or

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Napa County jobless rate drops to 3% in December


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