Gains in both farm and nonfarm jobs
Tulare County’s jobless in May rate dipped below 15% for the first time since April of 2009, figures from the state Employment Development Department showed Friday.
At the same time, California’s unemployment rate dipped slightly in May to 10.8%, down from 10.9% the previous month, in what state officials said was a sign of continued economic recovery.
Locally, Tulare County’s jobless rate was 14.7%. The lowest that rate had been was 15% a couple of times since April of 2009 when it was 14.5%. The jobless rate in the county peaked at 19.1% in March of 2010.
“We have had less people coming in the last month or so,” said Dave Hawks, site coordinator with Employment Connection in Porterville, but he was cautious to say the area is in a definite rebound.
“We want this sustaining growth for a year or so,” he said.
The state EDD reported that in May, 183,900 people were working in the county, 19,300 of those in Porterville where the jobless rate dipped to 13.5% from 14.9% in April. Porterville saw a net gain of 800 jobs over April.
Agriculture jobs paved the way for the improvement. In the county, there was a net gain of 3,100 jobs in farming over May of 2011 and 7,400 jobs over April. Nonfarm jobs declined by 1,100 jobs from last year, but the number of those employed in nonfarm jobs was up 1,800 over the previous month.
The biggest gains were in the trade and transportation areas, as well as government. Hotels and restaurants also reported job gains in the county.
The figures released Friday by the Employment Development Department show California employers added more than 33,900 nonfarm payroll jobs in May, the largest month-over-month increase nationwide. The largest job gain was in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 13,200 jobs.
Since the recovery began in September 2009, officials say 425,000 jobs have been created in the state.
The rate in May was more than a full percentage point better than the 11.9% unemployment rate at the same time a year ago.
California’s figures contrast with the national trend. The nationwide jobless rate rose to 8.2% last month from 8.1% in April, its first rise in nearly a year.
California’s unemployment rate is the nation’s third highest, behind Nevada, with 11.6% and Rhode Island with 11%.
Hawkes was pleased and any good news is good news.
“We have to celebrate when we can,” he said.
Local jobless rates:
Porterville 13.5; East Porterville, 20.3; Lindsay, 17.8; Poplar, 17.8; Springville, 13.8; Strathmore, 21; Terra Bella, 37.6; Woodville, 14.8; Visalia, 9.1 and Tulare, 12.5.