Nevada County’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in four and a half years in April, following a state trend in which California experienced one of the sharpest drops in joblessness nationwide, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.
The county’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate was 7.6 percent, according to EDD’s industrial measurements in April, the lowest rate since between October and November of 2008, nearly a year after the recession began, and the lowest April numbers since that same year, according to the agency’s records.
The numbers also marked the seventh consecutive month of the unemployment rate being less than the rate for that same month the previous year.
“Its definitely on a downward trend,” said Diane Patterson, an EDD labor market analyst.
“We are following state trends,” she said. “It is picking up.”
California’s unemployment rate in April was 8.5 percent. The state has added more than 273,000 jobs since April 2012, including a net gain of 10,400 non-farm jobs in April. Monthly job gains were down from March when the state added 25,500 jobs.
The construction industry has posted some of the largest gains, adding 7,400 jobs last month and 44,800 positions during the past year. However, that industry has not picked up much steam in Nevada County, Patterson noted.
“Construction is still slow. It is not where it was,” she said. “Hopefully in July we will see some improvement.
“I don’t know if we will ever pick up the numbers we saw pre-recession,” Patterson also said.
Manufacturing, trade, financial activities and educational and health services also gained jobs statewide. While hospitality jobs also saw improvements across California, in Nevada County, that segment of the labor force declined twice as much as expected, Patterson said. That sector is largely driven by the ski industry in Nevada County, and Patterson speculated that the warmer-than-expected weather could have been a factor in April.
Among the statewide sectors reporting losses were professional and business services, information and government. Professional services generally have added jobs over the past year, adding 71,500 positions.
Nearly 1.7 million Californians remain unemployed, down 300,000 from April 2012. More than 3,800 Nevada County residents remain unemployed compared to 4,740 in April 2012. Both years had a total labor force of just more than 50,000.
Imperial County, along the state’s southern border, had the state’s highest unemployment rate in April at 24 percent. Marin County in the San Francisco Bay Area was lowest at 4.6 percent.
Nevada County’s unemployment rate peaked in March 2010 at 12 percent.
The state’s figure remains above the national unemployment rate of 7.5 percent. California had the fourth-highest jobless rate in April, behind Nevada, Illinois and Mississippi.
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“We are following the state trends. It is picking up.”
— Diane Patterson,
Employment Development Department labor market analyst