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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 5:11 pm | Fair 65º


Santa Barbara County Jobless Rate Holds Steady in March

Losses are reported in government, and trade, transportation and utilities

Santa Barbara County’s unemployment rate remained unchanged for March at 9.6 percent, the California Employment Development Department reported Friday.

The rate is still below the year-ago estimate of 10.1 percent, reflecting a possible flattening in employer hiring. In Santa Barbara County, there were 218,100 in the labor force, with 197,600 employed and 21,000 unemployed in March.

This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 12.3 percent for California and 9.2 percent for the nation during the same period.

“Although the unemployment rate didn’t decrease, we are keeping our labor force employed,” said Raymond McDonald, executive director of the Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board. “This unchanged rate also reflects on the state of the mind of employers who may want to add to their workforce and have the ability to do so, but uncertainty of both the state and national budgets may be playing a role in this reluctance to move forward.”

Business and professional services (1,200) and leisure and hospitality (1,100) experienced the greatest jobs growth in Santa Barbara County. The biggest losses were in government (900) and trade, transportation and utilities(400).

Occupations that are on the fast-growth track in Santa Barbara remain in certain health-care occupations for the projected 2008-18 period is 40 percent and in the high-tech sector with a 40.6 percent projected growth rate.

“The continuing trend of job loss in government is disheartening,” McDonald said. “However, it is reflective of how county, state and national governments are tightening their belts while continuing to provide services to the public.”

Cities throughout the county showed virtually no change in their unemployment rate. Solvang came in at 3.7 percent, Santa Ynez at 4.9 percent, and Goleta and Carpinteria both posted an unchanged 4.8 percent unemployment rate. Santa Barbara posted a 6.8 percent rate, down slightly from February’s 6.9 percent.

The highest unemployment rate in the county remained in Lompoc posting a 16.7 percent rate which was identical to February’s. Guadalupe’s rate at 16.2 percent is a slight decrease from February’s 16.3 percent and Santa Maria’s rate remained at 14.9 percent. Buellton posted an unchanged rate of 7 percent.

In the state of California, Santa Barbara County ranks sixth for lowest unemployment, unchanged from February.

— Raymond McDonald is executive director of the Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board.

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