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San Diego County Unemployment Rate Ticks Up Despite Job Gains

A client walks out of San Diego County's unemployment office in this undated ...

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: A client walks out of San Diego County's unemployment office in this undated photo.

San Diego County's unadjusted unemployment edged up slightly to 3.7% in March, despite both farm and nonfarm employment showing gains, according to figures released Friday by the California Employment Development Department.

The region's unemployment rate was up from a revised 3.5% in February and above the March 2018 rate of 3.4%. In January, the county's unemployment rate was 3.8% — its highest rate since the third quarter of 2017.

The latest figures show that nonfarm employment increased by 4,300 jobs from 1,489,700 in February to 1,494,000 in March, while farm jobs increased by 200, from 8,500 to 8,700. Multiple industries showed job gains of more than 1,000 while others lost at least 1,000 jobs.

Government jobs increased by 1,700 from February to March, the most of any industry in the county. According to the EDD, 1,400 of those government jobs were added in local government. The leisure and hospitality and educational and health services industries also showed gains of 1,600 and 1,500 jobs, respectively.

"Despite a modest increase in the unemployment rate, the report still shows that San Diego added jobs both month-over-month, and year-over- year," said Sean Karafin, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce's vice president of policy and economic research. "The market is still essentially at full employment and talent attraction and retention continues to be an area of focus for growing employers."

Construction jobs decreased by 1,300 from February to March, the largest cutback of any industry. Trade, transportation and utilities jobs also decreased by 1,200 month-over-month.

Year-over-year nonfarm employment increased countywide by 20,100 jobs, from 1,473,900 in March 2018 to 1,494,000 last month. Farm employment dropped by 500 jobs, from 9,200 to 8,700. Year-over-year employment in the manufacturing, professional and business services, educational and health services, leisure and hospitality and government industries all increased by at least 3,000 jobs.

Year-over-year employment decreased by 2,800 jobs from March 2018 to last month, the largest decrease of any industry. Construction jobs also fell by 1,100 while information and financial activities jobs fell by 400 and 100, respectively.

The state's unemployment rate ticked up slightly from an adjusted 4.2% in February to an unadjusted 4.3% in March.

Nationwide, unemployment held steady at 3.8%.

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