Written by The Business Journal Staff
The year started with a jump in unemployment in the Central Valley that has continued into March, according to the latest data from the state Employment Development Department.
After years of annual decreases in the jobless rate, unemployment is starting to see a year-over-year jump, indicating a greater share of the labor force out of work in the Central Valley.
Fresno County’s unemployment rate for March was 9.4%, up from 8.9% in February and 9.1% a year ago.
Despite the rise in unemployment, total industry employment actually increased by 2,300 month-over-month. Educational and health services reported the largest increase with 2,200 jobs.
Professional and business services lost 400 positions in that period.
Year-over-year, employment also increased by 14,700 jobs, with educational and health services once again reporting the largest gain with 5,600 jobs.
Kings County’s unemployment rate for March was 10.3%, up from 10% in February and 9.6% a year ago.
On a month-over basis, Kings County lost a net 100 jobs. Year over year, it gained 600 positions.
Madera County reported the second-largest spike in unemployment in March to 8.9% from 8.2% in February. The rate was also up from 8.5% a year ago.
Madera County farms saw the largest month-over drop in employment, with 2,100 positions lost. On an annual basis, Madera County gained 800 new jobs.
Tulare County’s unemployment rate was 12.1 percent last month, up nearly a percentage point from 11.4 percent in February and 11.7 percent a year ago.
Farms in Tulare County lost 2,500 jobs month over month, while nonfarm industries added 700 positions for a net 1,800 jobs lost.
On an annual basis, all industries added a net 6,200 positions in Tulare County.
The statewide unemployment rate increased to 4.3 percent last month.