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Wednesday, 27 June 2012 20:35
Ventura County’s Unemployment Rate
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 20:30
Ventura County’s unemployment rate tumbled to 8.7 percent in April, the first time in more than three years that it’s been under 9 percent, a sign that the labor market continues to heal slowly.
The drop, reported Friday by the state’s Employment Development Department, was a significant improvement over a year ago, when unemployment in Ventura County stood at 9.5 percent.
Still, the county saw just a slight increase in seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs, which grew by 400 since March, a growth rate of 0.1 percent. That prompted the California Economic Forecast in Santa Barbara to characterize job growth as “modest.”
“Even though unemployment is below 9 percent, it’s still elevated and on a month-month basis you can say it’s improving incrementally rather than rapidly,” senior economist Ben Wright said. “I would also add that, coming out of a recession, we typically see more rapid improvement in the unemployment rate, which is why the recent rate of change is only ‘moderate.’ ”
During the past 12 months, the number of employed county residents grew by 5,700 people while the number of unemployed residents declined by 3,500. The size of the labor force, which consists of the employed and those seeking employment, has grown by 2,200 people.
At the Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura County, CEO Bruce Stenslie wasn’t overjoyed by the drop in the unemployment rate, noting that most of the new jobs added were in farming.
“We have in Ventura County an annual increase in agricultural activity every year in the spring months,” he said.
California’s unemployment rate slid slightly to 10.9 percent, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. It was 11 percent in March and 11.8 percent in April 2011.
The state lost 4,200 jobs in April, after gains of 22,100 in March and 38,600 in February. The losses confirm that monthly estimates are more volatile, according to Steve Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto.
“The positive news is that job growth is very strong in Internet-related and professional, scientific and technical services — the foundation of California’s innovation and technology complex,” Levy said. “There is also strong job growth in wholesale trade as port trade expands and exports hit record levels each month.
“Overall job growth remains constrained by low levels of residential construction, which has kept construction related jobs levels from rising, from layoffs in local government and education and from the lack of growth in manufacturing job levels.”
The U.S. unemployment rate also fell in April, to 8.1 percent.