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Unemployment Rate Decreases To 6.7% In San Diego County

 A hiring sign at Woody's in Mission Beach, May 17, 2021.
Alexander Nguyen
A hiring sign at Woody's in Mission Beach, May 17, 2021.

The unemployment rate in San Diego County decreased to 6.7% in April, down from a revised 7.8% in March but well above the year-ago rate of 15.9% — just as the worst economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were beginning to rear their heads — according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.

Statewide, the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate was 8.1% in April, down from 8.2% in March. The country posted a 5.7% unemployment rate in the same time period, down from 6.2 in March.

Between March and April, non-farm employment increased by 9,800, from 1,389,600 to 1,399,400 and agricultural employment remained unchanged at 9,100.


Leisure and hospitality added the most jobs over the month with an increase of 7,000 jobs. Accommodation and food services boosted the overall sector by 5,700 jobs — 81% of the total — with 4,500 of those in food and drinking establishments. Arts, entertainment, and recreation — up 1,300 jobs — completed the overall sectoral gain.

Construction grew by 3,300 jobs, educational and health services by 2,200, other services by 1,600, government by 300 and manufacturing by 300.

Trade, transportation, and utilities lost 2,300 jobs over the month. The loss was predominantly in transportation, warehousing, and utilities — down 1,600 jobs — followed by retail trade with 900 jobs lost, but offset by gains in wholesale trade, up 200. Three other sectors posted declines including, professional and business services losing 2,000 jobs, financial activities losing 500 and information losing 100 jobs. Mining and logging remained unchanged.

Between April 2020 and April 2021, non-farm employment increased by 132,200, or 10.4%. Agricultural employment increased by 700, or 8.3%.

Leisure and hospitality rose by 48,800 jobs, the largest increase over the year. Accommodation and food services — up 45,100 jobs — accounted for 92% of the increase, where food services and drinking places increased by 40,200 jobs. Arts, entertainment, and recreation — up 3,700 jobs — completed the sectoral gain. Despite job gains, leisure and hospitality employment is still below pre-pandemic levels. The last time, prior to 2020, employment was below 144,800 was March 2005


Trade, transportation, and utilities increased by 24,700 jobs.

Government employment was down the most over the year with 3,500 jobs lost. Local government led the loss with a decline of 5,900 jobs, followed by federal government losing 100 jobs. Declines were offset by gains in state government — up 2,500 jobs. The information sector declined by 200 jobs over the year.