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Key Placer County job count drops to 19-year low

Unemployment rate now below 3 percent
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Placer County’s unemployment rate is down to 2.9 percent. — a level not seen, and only fleetingly, during the height of the soon-to-burst dotcom bubble of 1999.

Statistics released Friday by the state Employment Development Department show Placer County’s unemployment rate dipping below the 3 percent level for the first time since December 1999. Online records with the state going back to 1990 show the jobless rate decreasing to a level below 3 percent only in 1999 and this past month. The drop to 2.9 percent followed a jobless rate in March of 3.2 percent in Placer County.

Cara Welch, analyst with the labor market information division, attributed the decrease to a regional jump in jobs partly fueled by retail growth, which was up 1,600 jobs. The region takes in El Dorado, Sacramento and Yolo counties as well as Placer. The total number of jobs over the region increased from March to April by 5,600 to 991,700.

Farm employment was also strong, picking up 900 jobs. A total of 900 health care jobs were also added.

Over the year, the region has seen an increase of 22,800 jobs or 2.4 percent.

Placer County is ranked 11th lowest in the state for its jobless percentage — tied with San Diego County.

Sacramento County, with a 3.5 percent unemployment rate, is ranked 18th. El Dorado County (3.4 percent) is 17th. Yolo County (4 percent) is 28th.

Not part of the regional coverage area with Placer, neighboring Nevada County has a 3.3 percent unemployment rate, good for 15th lowest in California. April’s statewide average was 3.8 percent. The national jobless rate was 3.7 percent.

Retail was the region’s hottest employment sector placed the most job ads during the month, looking for 717 retail salespersons, 631 supervisors and 581 customer service representatives, according to the Employment Development Department’s survey of job ads in the region.

Employers with the most jobs ads were generally in the health care and tech fields. The rankings for April were 1. Sutter Health 2. University of California, Davis 3. Dignity Health 4. Randstad 5. Robert half International 6. Kaiser Permanente 7. Centene 8. General Electric 9. Accenture, and 10. Intel.