San Diego County’s jobless rate fell to 3 percent in April, its lowest since May 2018, state labor officials said Friday.
The local unemployment rate was lower than the 3.9 percent rate for all of California, and 3.3 percent for the nation. San Diego’s rate was 3.1 percent at the same time last year.
Recent hiring in San Diego County has been led by construction, especially for specialty trade contractors, as well as heavy and civil engineering, said the state Employment Development Department.
San Diego County employers have added 20,400 jobs in the last 12 months, accounting for roughly 7.4 percent of all jobs added in California the past year. For context, San Diego County had added 32,100 jobs annually in April last year.
Phil Blair, owner of San Diego staffing agency Manpower, said there are more job openings than people looking for work. He said to fill positions, his firm has been trying to reach out to people who might be retired or not really looking for a job.
“We are literally pulling people off couches,” Blair said.
He said it would be hard to maintain the same level of job gains as seen last year at this time, and the recent figures still show a very healthy market. He predicted wages would likely see a noticeable gain in coming months if the jobless rate continues to be so low.
When adjusted for seasonal swings, the unemployment rate was about 3.1 percent, said Lynn Reaser, chief economist for the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute at Point Loma Nazarene.
She said while job gains had lost momentum, it was still a solid number and may partially reflect companies struggling to fill open positions.
“While San Diego remains vulnerable to the outcome of trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, the region is currently on solid ground,” Reaser said. “Low unemployment and further job gains should support income gains for most San Diego households.”
In the past year, the most new jobs were added in educational and health services. Jobs in the category include various educational services, health care assistants at hospitals and residential care facilities, teacher assistants and school administrators.
Other industries with big growth: Professional and business services with 5,300 jobs, government with 3,800 jobs and manufacturing with 3,100 jobs.
Occupations with the most job advertisements were software developers with 1,630 open jobs. It was followed by retail salespeople, 1,500 advertisements; First-line supervisors of retail sales workers, 1,009 advertisements; and security guards, 925 advertisements.
UC San Diego had the most advertisements with 1,519 postings. It was followed by Northrop Grumman (652), Qualcomm (565), Sharp Healthcare (480) and Allied Universal (440).
California has seen years of expansion, adding 3.2 million jobs since February 2010. In April, nine of the state’s 11 industry sectors saw growth.
State labor officials do not seasonally adjust jobless rates for individual counties, but the unadjusted numbers show San Diego County’s 3 percent rate was one of the lowest in the region. The unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in Riverside County, 2.6 percent in Orange County and 4 percent in Los Angeles County.
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