New data out today show a drop in the Sacramento area unemployment rate. The Sacramento Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA rate fell from 6.3 percent in February to 6 percent in March. George Marley with the state Employment Development Department says that's an eight year low.
"Last time the Sacramento MSA in March saw an unemployment rate lower than six percent," says Marley, "was in March of 2007 when we were at 5.2 percent."
The figures show big month-over-month gains in the construction industry, a job sector hit hard by the recession. Construction grew by 1,900 jobs. That was the largest February to March improvement since 2004.
Marley says construction has added 3,700 jobs in the past year...and more than 12,000 jobs in the past four years.
"Construction currently accounts for 46,200 jobs," says Marley, "and the industry hasn't seen job totals that high for this time of year since March of 2008, when the Sacramento MSA had 55,500 jobs. So we're creeping up towards where we were pre-economic downturn."
Other sectors that added jobs in March include: professional and business services; and leisure and hospitality. Three industries saw declines: information; other services; and trade, transportation and utilities.