Rates are lowest in many months

The number of people looking for work in Tulare County dropped considerably in May, to one of the lowest unemployment rates the county has seen October of 2007.

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) reported Friday the jobless rate in Tulare County for May was just 8.6 percent and only 17,900 were counted as being unemployed.

That compares to a jobless rate of 9.9 in April and 9.5 percent of May of 2016.

The 8.6 rate is the lowest since a 8.4 percent rate in 2007 before the bottom fell out of the economy. During the recession, the county’s jobless rate peaked at 19.5 percent.

California’s unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent in May, tying the record low that occurred in November-December 2000, according to the EDD. The state’s nonfarm payroll employment grew by 17,600 jobs in May, and California has now gained a total of 2,510,900 jobs since economic expansion began in February of2010.

The U.S. unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage point in May to 4.3 percent, with employers nationwide adding 138,000 nonfarm payroll jobs.

In April, the state’s unemployment rate was 4.8 percent, and in May 2016, the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. The unemployment rate is derived from a federal survey of 5,500 California households.

Nonfarm payroll jobs in California totaled 16,697,500 in May, according to a survey of businesses that is larger and less variable statistically. The survey of 71,000 California businesses measures jobs in the economy. The year-over change, May 2016 to May 2017, shows an increase of 242,600 jobs (up 1.5 percent).

The number of those listed as unemployed is down 2,900 and compared to a year ago the number of those seeking work is down 1,800.

The labor force has stabilized considerably, with the numbers hovering around 208,000 for several months now after dropping during the recession.

According to the EDD, job gains were had in both farming and non-farming, with a total of 3,700 jobs added over last year.

In Porterville, the jobless rate dropped to one of its lowest percentages in the month. For May, the city’s jobless rate was just 8.9 percent. In April, it was 10.3 percent and in May of last year it was 9.9 percent.

Other area jobless rates: Lindsay, 12 percent; Ducor, 6.1; East Porterville, 19; Exeter, 8.1; Poplar, 11.2; Springville, 3.7; Strathmore, 10.7; Terra Bella, 13.4; Visalia, 6.9; Tulare, 7.2 and Woodville, 5.2.

Eight of California’s 11 industry sectors added a total of 29,400 jobs in May. Government posted the largest jobs increase with a gain of 12,300 jobs, followed by information with a gain of 9,600 jobs. Other sectors adding jobs over the month were trade, transportation and utilities; other services; financial activities; educational and health services; construction; and manufacturing.

Month-over Job Losses

Three industry sectors reported job declines over the month, down a total of 11,800 jobs. Leisure and hospitality posted the largest decrease over the month, down 9,700 jobs, followed by professional and business services, down 1,700 jobs, and mining and logging, down 400 jobs.

In related data, the EDD reported that there were 354,371 people receiving regular Unemployment Insurance benefits during the May survey week. This compares with 388,142 in April and 362,535 in May of last year. At the same time, new claims for Unemployment Insurance were 38,252 in May, compared with 45,319 in April and 40,779 in May of last year.

Despite the improvement in the local unemployment picture, Tulare County had the third highest jobless rate in the state.

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