published on June 19, 2020 - 11:22 AM
Written by Gabriel Dillard

More people were working in May than the previous month in the Central Valley, putting us on a similar track as the nation as a whole, according to the latest figures from the state Employment Development Department.

The unemployment rate in Fresno County was 15.7% last month, down from a revised 16.9% for April, and well above 6.5% in May 2019.

That follows national reporting of a 13.3% unemployment rate for May, down from 14.7% in April as the U.S. economy gained 2.5 million jobs.

Between April and May, farm employment posted a normal seasonal increase with the addition of 7,100 jobs. Net nonfarm employment rose by 100 jobs, even though construction recorded a gain of 1,600 jobs, leisure and hospitality added 900 jobs and manufacturing added 500 jobs.

Those gains were offset by a fall of 1,900 jobs in government — 1,500 from local government and 400 from the state level. Federal employment was unchanged. Trade, transportation and utilities also lost 1,200 jobs.

On an annual basis, leisure and hospitality was the biggest loser, shedding 16,000 jobs compared to May 2019. Trade, transportation and utilities reported a loss of 9,400 jobs, and government shed 4,100 jobs.

Kings County’s unemployment rate was 16% in May, down from 17% in April and above 6.9% a year ago.

Kings County farms added 800 new jobs month-to-month, and nonfarm industries lost 300 jobs, mostly in government.

On an annual basis, Kings County lost 1,700 leisure and hospitality jobs and 1,100 government jobs. The trade, transportation and utilities sector was off by 400 jobs.

Madera’s unemployment rate for May was 15.2%, down from a revised 16.7% in April and above 6.2% a year ago.

Madera added 1,900 farm jobs month-to-month, as well as 400 nonfarm positions. The only industries losing jobs in May were financial activities (100) and government (200).

On an annual basis, Madera lost 1,200 leisure and hospitality jobs and 700 in educational and health services. The manufacturing sector shed 300 jobs compared to last year.

The unemployment rate in Tulare County was 18.4%, down from a revised 19.3% in April and above 8.4% a year ago.

Tulare County farms added 1,500 jobs last month, while government lost 1,300 positions compared to April.

Year over year, Tulare County farms lost 14,700 jobs while nonfarm industries lost 15,600. The biggest declines were in leisure and hospitality (4,200), educational and health services (3,600) and professional and business services (1,500).

California’s unemployment rate for May was 16.3%, down slightly from 16.4% in April and well above 4.1% in May 2019.

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