By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer

California's Central ValleyJob growth and population gains in California’s mostly rural Central Valley surpassed the same measures in the state’s more populous Bay Area and Southern region, which some analysts say could be encouraging trends for the coming year.

According to the Sacramento Bee, of the 20 fastest-growing counties in the state in 2018, a dozen were in the Central Valley.

“Families are starting there and growing,” state demographer Ethan Sharygin told the Bee. Moreover, urban residents are moving to the Valley in search of a more affordable cost of living. At the same time, the unemployment rate dropped in nearly every county in the Central Valley last year, according to the California Employment Development Department.

Nevertheless, rental prices are still high in the Central Valley in comparison to other areas of the country. In San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties between 2015 and 2018, rents climbed at least 17 percent, according to the real estate listing firm Zillow.

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