Friday brought encouraging news surrounding state and local unemployment. New numbers show jobless rates are down across the board in the Central Valley. The graph below shows that each of the five major counties has dropped by about 2% from April to May.
May 2013 April 2013
Merced Co. 13.6% 15.4%
Madera Co. 10.4% 12.4%
Fresno Co. 11.8% 13.3%
Kings Co. 12.1 % 13.8%
Tulare Co. 12.0% 13.6%
Source: Calif. Employment Development Dept.
California as a whole is showing improvement in terms of unemployment as it is now down to 8.6%. That figure couple with Fresno County’s 11.8% marks the lowest rates have been in five years.
“I think we're seeing more of a balanced recovery throughout the various sectors, which is in turn bringing down the unemployment rate,” said Steven Gutierrez of the California’s Employment Development Dept.
Gutierrez says Fresno County’s 11.8% jobless rate is a dramatic improvement from a year ago when it was nearly 15%.
“Hopefully the drop in the rate reflects the area's road to recovery,” said Gutierrez.
Leading the way in May was the addition of 13,000 agricultural jobs. New home construction is also providing a big boost. From framing to stucco, all types of sub-contractors are needed.
“No matter where you go whether it is the east side of Fresno, Clovis or the west side you're starting to see some housing developments put up,” said Gutierrez.
The Keller Williams Realty team is excited to see more homes being built.
“Because as realtors it gives us more to sell,” said Joanna Odabashian of Keller Williams Realty.
Odabashian says her Fresno office is proof that the economy is improving.
“Our company has grown in the last year from 80 agents to 111,” said Odabashian.
Odabashian points out that the inventory level of existing homes is extremely low right now. So having developers add more new houses reduces competition for older homes.
“We have buyers offering on the same house. We might have 12 to 18 offers on one property. You know there's a lot of buyers that may not have money to do repairs, so buying a new home is a great option,” said Odabashian.
Over the last 12 months, California’s unemployment rate has dropped more than any other state in the country.
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