The unemployment rate for Santa Barbara County increased to 6.7 percent in July, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.
This is up from a revised 6.3 percent in June and below the year-ago estimate of 8.1 percent. This is compared with an unadjusted unemployment rate for California of 9.3 percent and 7.7 percent for the nation during the same period.
Industry sectors in Santa Barbara experienced a significant loss of 3,900 jobs for the month of July. The industry with the most significant loss (for the second month in a row) was Government, which trimmed 2,800 jobs. Other sectors that saw a decrease in the number of jobs included: Construction, and Educational and Health Services with 100 jobs each.
In contrast, Professional and Business Services gained 300 positions, and Leisure and Hospitality increased by 100 jobs. Other sectors like Mining and Logging, Trade Transportation and Utilities, Information and Financial Activities remained unchanged.
Between July 2012 and July 2013, total employment in Santa Barbara County rose by 3,200 jobs or 1.7 percent. Some of the highlights for this period included:
» Industries posting substantial gains over the year included: Service providing — up 2 percent or 2,900 jobs; Private Service Providing — up 2.5 percent or 2,800 jobs; Professional & Business Services — up 8.8 percent or 2,200 positions.
» Other industries posting substantial gains over the year included: Heath Care — 500 jobs or 3.1 percent; Construction — 500 jobs or 7.4 percent; Educational and Health Services — 500 jobs or 2.3 percent; Health Care and Social Assistance — 500 jobs or 2.6 percent; State and Local Government — 500 jobs or 1.5 percent; Food and Beverage Stores — 200 jobs or 4.3 percent; Arts, Entertainment and Recreation — 200 jobs or 6.3 percent; Local Government Excluding Education — 200 jobs or 1.9 percent; Information — 200 jobs or 4.9 percent.
» Industries that lost jobs for this period of time included: Retail Trade — minus 400 jobs; Accommodation — minus 300 jobs and Manufacturing — minus 200 jobs.
“Overall, the fluctuation in our labor market at this time of year is not as critical — if we take into account the tremendous improvement we have made since last year," Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Raymond McDonald said. “During this period, we have seen a reassuring increase and growth in critical areas of our local economy. Those industries showing reliable increase are Construction, Professional & Business Services, and Education and Health Services.
“Currently, the government employment is being severely stressed. This is in part because of the federally-imposed sequestration, which has affected many government programs. The majority of the financial impact, however, will be felt at the beginning of the new fiscal year (July thru September). There is a good probability that towards the end of the 2013 calendar year we will start to see some recovery from the sequestration shock.”
In local cities, Lompoc remains at the top of the list with an unemployment rate of 12 percent. Lompoc is followed by Guadalupe with 11.6 percent and Santa Maria with 10.6 percent.
— Raymond McDonald is executive director of the Workforce Investment Board.