This morning the Employment Development Department released its monthly report and it shows that the preliminary unemployment rate for April was 3.9%, which I believe may be the lowest rate ever experienced in Humboldt County.
Using the monthly data reports, I created this simple chart to show the trends. What it shows is that while the trend line for employed persons is increasing, the overall size of the labor force has decreased by about 5% since January 2010. The good news is that the 12 month moving average has been relatively flat.
What are the implications for Humboldt County? Fortunately, I’m not an economist. But I can report hearing more and more two stories locally. The first is that finding good employees is getting harder and harder here. The second is that finding housing is getting harder and harder here. Are the two linked? Does a lack of housing help suppress the labor force? Is it that local wages are not sufficient? Is the shrinking of the labor force the result of something larger? And, of course, how is the cannabis industry and the rapid changes there affecting all of this?