Santa Barbara County’s unemployment numbers are hovering around 8 percent, and have posted little improvement since June, according to new numbers posted Friday by the state Employment Development Department.
The county’s rate stayed at 7.9 percent from June to July of this year, with the number of unemployed people declining by only 300 during that time period.
Most cities and communities in Santa Barbara County also saw little change in their jobless rates from the previous month. Santa Barbara dropped slightly, to 5.5 percent from 5.6; Goleta stayed the same at 3.9 percent; Santa Maria was unchanged at 12.3 percent; Orcutt was down slightly to 8.8 percent from 8.9 percent; and Lompoc was unchanged at 13.9 percent.
Solvang has the best jobless rate at 3 percent.
Industry sectors showing improvement locally included professional and business services, up 7.3 percent for the first half of the year; construction, up 2.9 percent; and education and health services, up 2.3 percent year-to-date, according to the Workforce Investment Board of Santa Barbara County.
Professional, scientific, technical services, administrative, support and waste services have seen 11.0-percent growth in these specific job categories over this time period, the Workforce Investment Board said.
“The numbers released today represent challenges in the recovery with consistent growth in employment,” said Raymond McDonald, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board. “Santa Barbara County overall is still below 8.0 percent unemployment rate as a bright spot in a recovery that is unpredictable.
“Reviewing where the economy has grown and where we’ve seen jobs being added to the workforce, like the 1,800 jobs in professional and business services, from this time last year will help us identify strategies in workforce development. Another positive indicator of future full-time hiring is the uptick in the temporary employment sector that tends to be a leading indicator for future hiring.”
Even with little improvement recently, the county is still faring better than it was during this time last year, when it was dealing with an 8.7 percent unemployment rate, and is better off than California as a whole.
The county’s stagnant employment numbers mirror a larger trend statewide, as California’s jobless rate was unchanged at 10.7 percent in July. That number is much higher than the national average, which sits at 8.3 percent.
According to the newest numbers, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties both posted higher unemployment rates than Santa Barbara County, with 9.4 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively.
The highest number in the state comes from Imperial County, which has an almost 30 percent unemployment rate.