Written by Gabriel Dillard
Central Valley unemployment rates mostly dropped in April with the start of the spring harvest season, according to new data from the state Employment Development Department.
Last month also marked an end to year-over-year jumps in the unemployment rate after years of annual declines.
Fresno County’s unemployment rate for April was 7.7%, down from 9.3 percent in March and below 7.9% a year ago.
A 6,900-job boost last month came from farms as the agricultural season kicked off, with broccoli, asparagus, carrot and citrus harvest, according to an EDD release.
Year over year, industry employment increased by 15,500 jobs, up 3.9%. Farms gained 2,000 jobs, with non-farm industries adding the remainder. Educational and health services reported the largest year-over increase with 5,300 jobs.
Kings County saw an 8.3% unemployment rate in April, down from 10.3% in March and unchanged from April 2018.
Kings County farms added 1,000 jobs last month, with non-farm industries adding 400.
On an annual basis, farms added 600 jobs, with non-farms industries adding 100.
Madera County’s April unemployment rate was 7.6%, down from 8.9% in March and below 7.7% a year ago.
Madera County bucked the month-over-month trend of farm job gains with a loss of 600 positions. Non-farm industries added 100 jobs in that period.
Year-over-year, farms shed 100 jobs, while non-farm industries gained 800.
The April unemployment rate in Tulare County was 9.8%, down from 12.1% in March and unchanged from April 2018.
Tulare County farms added 8,000 jobs last month, with another 200 jobs created by non-farm industries.
On an annual basis, farms created 3,100 jobs, with non-farm industries adding 1,900 jobs.
California’s unemployment rate for April was 4.3%, unchanged from last year’s rate.