Tuesday, November 24 , 2015, 10:57 pm | Mostly Cloudy 56º

Jobless Rate in Santa Barbara County Remains Below 6%

By Workforce Investment Board of Santa Barbara County |

The unemployment rate in Santa Barbara County was 5.4 percent in June, up from a revised 5 percent in May and below the year-ago estimate of 6.8 percent.

This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 7.3 percent for California and 6.3 percent for the nation during the same period. This is according to information released by the State Employment Development Department.

Job growth was recorded in most industry sectors, with the exception of losses in construction (200 jobs), manufacturing (200 jobs), and leisure and hospitality (1,200 jobs). The highest growth was in Professional & Business Services, which gained a total of (1,200) new jobs. Government also saw an increase in the number of positions gained (400 jobs), and Trade, Transportation & Utilities showing a gain of (300) new positions.

Although the county labor force dropped by 0.8 percent in June, to 224,200 down from 225,900 in May, it has fluctuated only 2 percent since June 2013, when it was at 228,700. The overall number of employed workers in the county is currently at 212,200 with a labor force of 224,200.

Santa Barbara County came in eighth of the 10 state counties that had below 6 percent unemployment rates in June. The lowest county unemployment rate among all California counties in June was 4 percent in Marin. Followed by: San Mateo (4.2 percent); San Francisco (4.5 percent); Napa (4.7 percent); Orange (5.2 percent); San Luis Obispo (5.3 percent); Sonoma (5.3 percent); Santa Barbara (5.4) percent); Santa Clara (5.4 percent); and Alameda (5.8) percent). The highest unemployment rate in June was 22.0 percent in Imperial County.  The comparable, not seasonally adjusted California rate was 7.3 percent in June.

Currently, occupations with the fastest job growth in Santa Barbara County are: home health aides (53.2 percent), followed by physical therapy assistants (50 percent). There is, also a demand for veterinary technologists and technicians, which are showing growth at (46.2 percent) and personal care aides (46.8 percent).

In considering numbers of employed in the county, it is also important to consider the commuter traffic from areas outside of Santa Barbara County, which is steadily growing. Over 16,000 of the employed in Santa Barbara County actually reside in Ventura or San Luis Obispo counties. In the year 2000, the percentage of employed commuting in to Santa Barbara County was at 14 percent — currently there are close to 7,500 commuting in from San Luis Obispo County and over 9,000 commuting in from Ventura County. While the total number of residents commuting out to either adjoining county would be approximately 6,000.

“As we finally start to feel the effects of summer, with tourism at its peak, we will begin to realize the economic changes that align with the season," said Raymond McDonald, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board of Santa Barbara County. "Although we are showing fluctuations in industry sectors, such as construction and manufacturing, we are still moving ahead, which, in the long run will be the measure of true economic stability.”

According to INJCJC, US Initial Jobless Claims SA, the weekly initial jobless claim totals used to calculate local and federal UI (unemployment insurance) ratings is determined by the actual number of people who have filed for Unemployment benefits for the first time in a given period. And the following five eligibility criteria must be met in order to file for unemployment benefits: 1. Meet the requirement of time worked during a one-year period (full time or not), 2. Have become unemployed through no fault of your own (was not fired), 3. Must be able to work, no physical or mental holdbacks, 4. Must be available for work, and 5. Must be actively seeking work.

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