Typical spring farm hiring helped boost the number of jobs in Fresno County in April by 6,400 and lowered the unemployment rate to 9.7 percent, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.
A year ago in April, Fresno County’s unemployment rate was 10.4 percent. Last month, the jobless rate was 10.6 percent.
The last time the county’s unemployment rate was less than 10 percent was October 2015.
“The unemployment rate typically drops this time of year due to an influx of farm jobs,” said Steven Gutierrez, a labor market analyst with the EDD office in Fresno. “Hopefully, we can see that single digit (continue) through spring and through the end of summer.”
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The unemployment rate typically drops this time of year due to an influx of farm jobs.
Steven Gutierrez, EDD labor market analyst
Farm employment posted its normal seasonal increase month over month and led all sectors in monthly job growth as blueberry, strawberry and cherry harvests continued, the EDD said.
Leisure and hospitality grew by 800 jobs with the start of baseball season and as national parks prepared for spring and summer visitors. The accommodation and food services sector accounted for 75 percent of the job gain in leisure and hospitality, Gutierrez said.
Government and professional services added 700 positions while manufacturing increased by 500 jobs and construction by 300.
Year over year, the government sector reported the largest increase with 3,800 jobs.
“This is the eighth consecutive month that we have seen this sector grow by 3,000 jobs or more,” Gutierrez said. “The sector has now achieved 30 consecutive months of job growth.”
Trade, transportation and utilities reported a year-over-year increase of 3,700 jobs, adding 13,600 total county jobs this year.
The government sector reported the largest increase year over year with 3,800 jobs.
The retail trade subsector remains a consistent contributor to job growth, adding 2,200 jobs year over year. Education and health services grew by 2,800 jobs. Manufacturing expanded by 1,000 jobs.
The EDD’s estimates of payroll jobs are based on a state survey of businesses, while the official unemployment rate is derived from a federal survey of households.
The unemployment rate and the numbers of people counted as jobless are based on estimates of people who want jobs and are available to work but cannot find it. The figures don’t include students or retirees who aren’t looking for work, nor does it count people dubbed “discouraged workers” – often chronic or long-term unemployed who have given up their search for work.
California’s jobless rate fell slightly last month to 5.3 percent from 5.4 percent in March. The U.S. unemployment rate was unchanged at 5 percent.