Santa Barbara County is now tied with Orange County for the fifth-lowest rate of unemployment in the state, the Workforce Investment Board reported Friday.
The rate for September was 7.1 percent, a drop from August’s 7.6 percent, according to the state Employment Development Department.
It’s also an improvement from 8.5 percent last September.
California’s overall unemployment rates also decreased — to 10.2 percent from 10.6 the previous month and from 11.7 percent for the same time period last year, according to the Workforce Investment Board.
“These new numbers are encouraging,” Executive Director Raymond McDonald said in a statement. “We are seeing a continuous series of improving employment numbers for the county.”
There were job gains in educational, health, professional and business services, but job losses in leisure, hospitality, government and manufacturing, McDonald said.
The City of Santa Barbara has 5 percent unemployment, and benefits from the thriving hospitality and tourism industries, he said. Carpinteria and Goleta, each with 3.5 percent unemployment, had gains in the education, health care and information technology industries.
Santa Maria, the largest city in the county, has the highest jobless rate at 11.2 percent, and doesn’t have as diverse an economy as South Coast cities, McDonald noted. The city has also recently been losing jobs in agri-business.
The WIB has Workforce Resource Centers for job seekers and employers in the North County and on the South Coast. They’re located at 1410 S. Broadway in Santa Maria and 130 E. Ortega St. in Santa Barbara. For more information, click here.
Click here for the full statewide unemployment figures.