San Diego County saw rapid job growth in April, with the unemployment rate dropping to 4.5 percent, according to state labor official. The April jobless rate is the lowest since mid-2007, although once it is adjusted for seasonal changes, it is really closer to 5 percent. Even so, it marks a significant year-over-year decrease from the 5.4 percent unemployment rate recorded in March 2015.
Although San Diego created more jobs, more job seekers entered the workforce, which slowed down the decrease in the unemployment rate. That should change as San Diego enters the busy summer travel season, when jobs in the hotel and hospitality sectors tend to absorb more job seekers.
The leisure and hospitality industry already accounted for more than half of all job gains recorded in April, with more than 3,300 jobs added in April, according to the California Employment Development Department. Construction jobs accounted for much of the rest of San Diego’s impressive job growth in April. Even with the concentration of job growth in the leisure, hospitality and construction sectors, the 2.7 percent year-over-year job growth was widespread across multiple sectors, according to economist Lynn Reaser.
Compared to April of last year, San Diego’s total job count increased by 37,000, according to Reaser, and nearly all sectors have added new jobs to their payrolls. The largest gains were in construction, engineering, health care, public education and temporary help. Among the few sectors that recorded job losses included the legal service, the federal government, not counting the defense sector and publishing, nor counting the internet.
Between March and April, San Diego’s moribund manufacturing witnessed the largest job losses, shedding about 1,200 positions. University of San Diego economist Alan Gin said he is encouraged by the latest jobs numbers and is maintaining his prediction of the annual job growth of 35,000 for 2016. San Diego is adding jobs at a steady pace. Earlier in the year, the county was adding jobs at an adjusted annual pace of 40,000, but Gin says that the current rate of 37,000 jobs per year is still a solid number. San Diego County’s adjusted unemployment is still consistently lower than the statewide rate, which stood at 5.3 percent as of April.
California has added some 450,000 jobs since April 2015, which outpaced the national job growth rate. Employment in California ticked up 2.8 percent over the last 12 months, compared to 1.9 percent for the nation as a whole. California’s jobs are typically higher-paying than the national average, and despite recent job losses in the manufacturing sector in San Diego County, the manufacturing and construction sector is doing consistently better statewide compared to the nation as a whole. Recent setbacks in the construction sector should turn around as summer gets into full swing, a time when builders and construction firms do most of their work for the year.
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(all data current as of 5/29/2017)
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