While the pandemic erupts to unprecedented levels across the country, the state and here locally, more and more people are heading back to work.

Humboldt County’s unemployment rate dropped for the sixth straight month in October, landing at a provisional mark of 6.6 percent. That’s the lowest it’s been since April when the COVID-19 outbreak sent the rate skyrocketing to nearly 14 percent.

Note: October values are provisional.

The drop is even more impressive considering that Humboldt County’s labor force increased last month by an estimated 2,000 workers, according to provisional data from the California Employment Development Department (EDD). 

There were 61,500 workers in the county in October, according to the early data. That’s the highest mark since April.

So who has been hiring? Well, state and local government, for one. That sector added 500 jobs in Humboldt County last month, an increase of 4.1 percent over September’s figure. However, that sector still has 10.6 percent fewer workers than it did a year ago, with 12,600 employees compared to 14,100 in October 2019.

The county also added about 100 state government jobs in education (Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods), but that sector is still down a whopping 26 percent from last October.

Humboldt County’s unemployment rate matches the nationwide level, and it remains well below the state rate, which dropped to single digits for the first time since March. The state appears to be recovering somewhat from the COVID recession. Employers added 145,500 jobs across California, which represents the third-highest single-month job gain in at least 30 years, according to the EDD. 

In a press release the agency said, “California has now regained nearly 44 percent of the 2,615,800 non-farm jobs that were lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April.”