San Diego unemployment rate hits decade low

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County’s unemployment rate plunged to 3.8 percent in April, a new post-recession low, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.

The rate, which fell from 4.2 percent in March, is the lowest since December 2006, according to EDD data. San Diego’s unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in April last year.

Statewide, the unemployment rate last month was 4.5 percent, and the nationwide rate was 4.1 percent. Neither the state nor national rates are seasonally adjusted.

The EDD reported that during the month, the construction sector gained 1,500 jobs, while hotels and restaurants added 1,300 positions. Those were partially offset by losses of 1,100 administrative positions.

Since April of last year, construction has registered the largest expansion, adding 6,300 jobs, two-thirds of them specialty trade contractors. Other areas showing year-over-year growth were local government education, 3,500 positions; ambulatory health care services, 2,600; state government, 1,500; and nursing homes, 1,400, according to agency data.

“Job postings aren’t staying up long, and unemployment is near record lows,” said Phil Blair, CEO of the staffing firm Manpower San Diego. “I expect wages to start increasing as we approach full employment.”

In April, 58,500 San Diegans were unemployed out of a civilian labor force of 1.55 million people, or 13,700 fewer than the same month last year. The number on the unemployment roll is also the lowest since December 2006.