For the first time in nearly a decade the Central Valley is seeing low unemployment numbers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Central Valley is seeing a positive trend when it comes to unemployment.

For the month of May, the unemployment rate in Fresno County dropped to 6.9%.

"This is the lowest May on record going back to a series all the way back to 1990. So this is kind of the first time we've seen the unemployment rate go this low during this particular period," said Steven Gutierrez, Employment Development Department.

Gutierrez added that's also a significant decline when compared to the height of the recent recession.

Fresno County had an unemployment rate of just over 18% in February 2010. That is when many department and retail stores closed, but a change in shopping habits with consumers is creating new jobs in 2018.

"The Amazon e-commerce distribution center is going up. Ulta has also decided to locate in Fresno. GAP is expanding their distribution center," said Gutierrez.

Those new facilities are not the only thing responsible for creating new jobs in the Central Valley.

The EDD says construction and agriculture create job growth during the summer.

AG alone usually creates about 6,000 jobs in Fresno County during the summer when blueberries and cherries are harvested.

"We're seeing Merced, Kings, and Tulare County unemployment rate trickle down," said Gutierrez. "So that's kind of normal for this time of year because AG is such a big factor in regards to those particular communities."

While the decline of unemployment is expected to continue through the summer, the EDD expects the numbers to go back up in the fall when seasonal jobs for the summer come to an end.
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