In advance of June’s labor force report on Friday, all eyes will be on the leisure and hospitality figures. Last month’s gain made spring 2014 the largest April-to-May boost since 1990.

“Normally for this time of year, you see a decline,” said George Marley, labor market consultant with the state Employment Development Department. “Over the winter months, [leisure and hospitality] were definitely below seasonal averages because of a lack of snowfall. I know, overall, the numbers were reflective of a down year.”

Overall, Sacramento is going retro, at least with respect to unemployment. Labor force data for the metro area, which includes Sacramento, Yolo, El Dorado and Placer counties, shows unemployment dropped to 7.6 percent in May 2014 – a level not seen since May 2008.

Here’s where tradition comes in. The Capitol Region’s industry base of government and construction are leading the way out of the economic downturn, which took grip of the Golden State in summer 2008.

“In the great recession, we’ve added almost 10,000 construction jobs, but we are still lagging behind,” Marley said. “That’s one industry that’s definitely trending upward.”

In the agriculture sector, farm jobs increased by 1,500 from April to May, while health services and education (private) jumped 1,300 jobs – the greatest increase in 12 years.

Just two industries showed a decline in the May report: financial activities and professional/business services each lost 200 jobs.

The Capital Region has grown by nearly 20,000 jobs, or 2.3 percent, in the past year.

The best news? Incomes are keeping pace with job growth. Federal government data, compiled by EDD, shows an average Sacramentan earns $1,069 per week in 2013’s 4th quarter, which is an increase of 1 percent from the same period in 2014.

Carol Terracina-Hartman is a freelance writer based in Sacramento. She covers all things environment. In 2012, she received the Outstanding Service Award from the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. See her work at


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