Written by The Business Journal Staff
Unemployment rates were down slightly in February as the Central Valley prepared to enter the spring season.
Fresno County had an unemployment rate of 9.9% in February, down from 10.1% in January and up from 8.4% in February 2020.
Total industry employment reported no month over month change, though trade, transportation and utilities recorded the largest decline of 1,700, with 76% of those losses in retail trade. That was offset by a 900-job gain in professional and business services and 700 jobs in leisure & hospitality.
Year to date, total industry employment decreased by 24,600 jobs, led by nonfarm employment with a decline of 25,300 jobs.
Leisure & hospitality recorded the largest year-over decrease of 8,600 jobs, followed by government employment shedding 7,000 jobs.
Only one industry — trade, transportation & utilities — posted a year-over gain with 600 jobs.
Kings County saw an unemployment rate of 10.7% in February, down from 10.9% in January and above 9.8% last year.
Employment was mostly unchanged month-over-month, except for a 200-job dip in the leisure & hospitality industry. Year-over-year, Kings County’s nonfarm industries lost 3,600 jobs, led by a 1,200-job dip in leisure & hospitality.
Madera County saw an unemployment rate of 9.5% last month, down from 9.8% in January 2021 and above 7.9% a year ago.
While month-over-month employment was mostly unchanged, there were 2,700 nonfarm jobs lost year-over-year, with the bulk of losses in professional & business services with 600.
Tulare County’s unemployment rate for February was 11.4%, down from 11.5% in January and above 11.3% last year.
Nonfarm industries gained 1,800 jobs month-over-month, led by leisure & hospitality with an additional 1,200 jobs. Year-over-year, Tulare County lost 10,000 jobs, led by professional & business services and leisure & hospitality, which each shed 2,900 positions.
California’s unemployment rate hit 8.5% in February, down from 9% in January and up from 4.3% last year.