The unemployment rate for Santa Barbara County decreased to 7.2 percent in March, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.
This is down from a revised 7.7 percent in February, and below the year-ago estimate of 8.8 percent. This is compared with an unadjusted unemployment rate for California of 9.4 percent and 7.6 percent for the nation during the same period.
Industry sectors in Santa Barbara County experienced another significant gain in jobs of 3,100 for the month of March. There were no jobs lost in any of the industries for the month.
Government, leisure and hospitality led the way, adding 300 positions this month. Trade, transportation and utilities were second with 200 jobs, followed by construction, information, financial activities, professional and business services, and educational and health services with 100 jobs.
From March 2012 to March 2013, total employment in Santa Barbara County rose by 7,400 jobs or 4.1 percent. Some of the highlights included:
» Industries posting substantial gains over the year included: Private Service Producing (up 4.0% or 4,300 jobs), Professional & Business Services (up 7.2% or 1,800 jobs), with Administrative, Support and Waste Services showing an increase in jobs of 11% or 1,300 positions.
» Job gains within educational and health services (up by 900 jobs), with health care and social assistance increasing 4.2 percent, or 800 positions.
» Other industries posting substantial gains over the year included leisure and hospitality gaining 500 new positions, or 2.3 percent, and information up by 200 jobs.
» In contrast, the federal government trimmed 200 jobs for the year.
“The lower unemployment rate of 7.2 percent across Santa Barbara County is reflected in the consistent job growth of all industries sectors throughout the area,” Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Raymond McDonald said. “This is an indication of sustainable improvements in the local region looking toward an economic recovery.”
The cities of Lompoc at 12.8 percent and Guadalupe at 12.4 percent are still holding the highest unemployment rates for the region.