Sunday, November 29 , 2015, 10:31 pm | Fair 47º

Santa Barbara County’s Jobless Rate Inches Up But Remains Below Statewide Average

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper |

Santa Barbara County’s unemployment rate increased to 8.4 percent in January, but despite the uptick since December, the county still remains lower than the statewide average, according to figures released Friday by the Employment Development Department.

Friday’s numbers reveal that unemployment in the county is still below the 9.2 percent recorded from the same time last year, according to a statement from the Workforce Investment Board of Santa Barbara County.

The numbers were an increase from 7.7 percent recorded in December, and the group said the unemployment increase also has been experienced at the state and national level.

“Despite the unfortunate jumps, most of the national economic indicators continue to point towards a slow, but steady recovery,” Executive Director Raymond McDonald. “We should also note that Santa Barbara County’s workforce has increased by 7,100 over the same period last year, and the sectors experiencing loss in this current report are areas that are influenced by seasonal swings. The coming months should be watched very closely to see if the slow economic recovery takes hold in Santa Barbara.”

Among cities, Santa Barbara remains among the lowest in the county with almost 6 percent unemployment, and Goleta and Carpinteria record even lower numbers with about 4 percent each.

Unemployment rates remain significantly higher in North County communities, however, and Lompoc is the highest in the county at almost 15 percent. Santa Maria recorded a 13 percent unemployment rate,  Los Alamos following with 12 percent and Orcutt with 9.4 percent.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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