published on April 15, 2016 - 11:39 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
Central Valley unemployment rates were up slightly last month, though year-over-year jobless numbers continue to fall.

The Fresno County unemployment rate for March was 10.6 percent, up from 10.4 percent in February but below 11.7 percent a year ago, according to new data from the state Employment Development Department.

Though unemployment was up slightly month-to-month, total industry employment actually increased by 3,900 jobs in the period. The total civilian labor force also increased by 0.6 percent for a total of 446,600 Fresno County residents employed or looking for jobs last month.

Educational and health services added 800 jobs last month, while manufacturing shed 300 jobs.

Year-over-year, Fresno County employers added 10,900 jobs, with the highest gains in the trade, transportation & utilities sector and government, each with 3,600 positions. Educational & health services added 3,400 jobs.

Leisure & hospitality shed 600 positions in the last year — the most of any Fresno County sector.

Kings County’s unemployment rate last month was 11.4 percent, up from 11.3 percent in February and below 12.3 percent last year.

Kings County farms added 200 farm jobs last year, and lost a net 100 nonfarm jobs.

Year-over-year, farm employment remained steady while the nonfarm sector added 900 jobs, with 300-job gains in the trade, transportation & utilities sector as well as educational & health services and government.

In Madera County, last month’s unemployment rate was 10.5 percent, up from 9.9 percent in February but below 12.3 percent last year.

Month-over-month, Madera County farms shed 1,300 jobs in March. On the year-over basis, farms lost 100 jobs while nonfarm sectors added 2,600 jobs. Government had the most gains with 1,300 positions.

The March unemployment rate for Tulare County was 12.4 percent, up from 12.1 percent in February and below 13.5 percent a year ago.

Tulare County farms shed 900 jobs in the last month, while nonfarm sectors added a net 400 jobs, led by leisure & hospitality and manufacturing with 200 jobs each.

Year-over-year, farms added 300 jobs, while the nonfarm industries added 3,600 jobs, led by trade, transportation & utilities with 1,400 followed by government with 1,300 jobs.

California’s unemployment rate for March was 5.4 percent, down slightly from 5.5 percent in February and 6.6 percent a year ago.

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