published on April 17, 2020 - 11:42 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The state Employment Development Department released its March unemployment numbers on Friday, but they do not reflect the full impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

That’s because the state’s March survey period was the week that contains the 12th day of the month, which mostly predated the coronavirus-related business and school closures in the second half of March.

Data including the week of April 12 is slated for release on May 22.

The rates did see an uptick that usually coincides with the dormant winter period on most Central Valley farms.

Fresno County’s unemployment rate for March was 10.8%, up from 8.5% in February and above 8.9% a year ago.

It’s the first time since January 2017 (10.4%) that Fresno County’s unemployment rate reached double digits

Fresno County reached a peak unemployment rate of 18.4% in February 2010 in the wake of the Great Recession.

On a monthly basis, farms posted the largest decline with 900 jobs in a normal seasonal cycle. Other industries seeing declines include leisure & hospitality and trade, transportation & utilities, each losing 300 jobs.

Year-over-year, trade, transportation and utilities saw the largest increase with 2,100 jobs.

Kings County’s March unemployment rate was reported as 12.3% last month, up from 9.8% in February and above 9.8% a year ago.

Madera County reported a 10.5% unemployment rate last month, up from 8% in February and above 8.5% last year.

Tulare County saw an unemployment rate of 14.5% in March, up from 11.5% in February and above 11.7% last year.

California’s unemployment rate jumped to 5.3% last month.

“The job losses in March ended a record job expansion in California of 120 months, which surpassed the long expansion of the 1960s,” according to an EDD news release. “In the recent expansion, California had gained 3,417,700 jobs, which accounted for 15.0 percent of the nation’s 22,789,000 job gain over the same timeframe.”

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