The unemployment rate in Fresno County continued its long-term improvement thanks to an increase in government jobs.
Fresno’s July unemployment rate was 9.4 percent, below the 9.8 percent rate from July 2015, according to numbers released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.
July was also the 59th consecutive month in which the monthly unemployment rate in Fresno County was lower than it was a year earlier.
On a month-to-month basis, unemployment remained nearly steady between June and July, increasing by just one-tenth of a percentage point.
It also was “the lowest July unemployment rate since July 2007, when it was 8.2 percent, and the fourth time this year that we’ve seen the unemployment rate in single digits,” said Steven Gutierrez, a labor market analyst with the EDD in Fresno.
Government employment fell by 4,900 jobs between June and July in large part because schools scaled down operations for the summer, but the sector still reported its largest year-over-year increase with 4,800 jobs, the EDD said.
The monthly government figure is expected to rebound this month or September as staff return for the new school year, Gutierrez said.
Monthly gains came in manufacturing, which grew 1,100 jobs as food manufacturers got to work processing harvested crops. The county’s leisure and hospitality sector also added 200 jobs.
Trade, transportation and utilities recorded a gain of 2,400 jobs year-over-year. Retail trade added 1,600 jobs, remaining a consistent contributor in job growth so far this year, Gutierrez said. Leisure and hospitality reported a positive growth of 600 more jobs this year after losing 1,700 jobs during the first quarter of 2016.
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 increased slightly last month to 5.5 percent from 5.4 in June. The U.S. unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent.