published on June 18, 2021 - 11:45 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The Central Valley continued to see lower unemployment rates last month as the jobs recovery continues a year after the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the California Employment Development Department.

Fresno County had an unemployment rate of 8.8% in May, down from 9.5% in April and below 15.2% a year ago.

On a monthly basis, total industry employment increased by 3.2%, mostly concentrated in farm employment with a normal seasonal increase of 10,300 jobs. Other sectors that added jobs include retail trade (500); transportation, warehousing and utilities (300); leisure and hospitality and government (700 each) and manufacturing (300).

On an annual basis, and a year since Covid-19 restrictions, nonfarm employment rose by 19,700 jobs, or 5.9%. Retail trade added 5,600 jobs, leisure and hospitality increased by 5,8000 jobs — accommodation and food services accounting for 65% of that growth.

The only industries to see year-over-year decreases were financial activities by 500 jobs and government by 2,100 jobs.

Kings County’s unemployment rate for May was 9.2%, down from 10.1% in April and below 14.9% a year ago. Month over month, the biggest gain was seeing in manufacturing with 600 new jobs. On an annual basis, nonfarm industries added 1,500 jobs, with the bulk in manufacturing (500) and leisure & hospitality (800).

Madera County had an unemployment rate of 8.4% last month, down 9.3% from April and below 14.8% last year. While month over month unemployment only saw minor changes, on an annual basis, leisure & hospitality saw an increase of 800 jobs, followed by trade, transportation & utilities and government with 700 each.

Tulare County had an unemployment rate of 10.2% in May, down from 11% in April and below 16.5% last year. Farms added an additional 5,100 jobs in the month, and nonfarm industries added 500. Year-over-year, trade, transportation & utilities added the most jobs with 1,900, followed by 1,700 from leisure & hospitality and educational & health services with 1,000.

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