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Jobless Rate Up Slightly in Santa Barbara County

Unemployment in Santa Barbara County ticked up slightly in October, bucking the statewide trend, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.

The county’s jobless rate for October was 7.3 percent, compared to 7.1 percent for September. In October 2011, the rate was 8.4 percent.

San Luis Obispo County’s jobless rate also was 7.3 percent for October, which tied the two for seventh place among California’s 58 counties for lowest unemployment.

Statewide, the seasonally-adjusted jobless rate was 10.1 percent, down from 10.2 percent for October, as employers added 45,800 new jobs. The rate was 11.5 percent in October 2011.

The trend was similar in most areas of Santa Barbara County.

Unemployment in Santa Barbara was 5.1 percent compared to 5.0 percent in September.

Goleta is faring very well in terms of employment. The city’s rate was 3.6 percent in October vs. 3.5 percent in September.

In the North County, the cities of Santa Maria and Lompoc continued to be challenged with high unemployment.

Santa Maria’s rate was 11.4 percent compared to 11.2 percent in September and 13.1 percent a year ago.

Lompoc’s rate was 12.9 percent vs. 12.7 percent the previous month and 14.8 percent in 2011.

Figures for other communities in the county included Buellton, 5.3 percent; Carpinteria, 3.6 percent; Santa Ynez, 3.6 percent; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, 11.6 percent.

“Even with the unemployment number increasing for October, we are still optimistic, as our industry sectors gained a significant number of jobs for the month” said Raymond L. McDonald, executive director of the Santa Barbara Workforce Investment Board. “Twenty-three hundred jobs were added to our local industry.”

Two industry sectors — professional and business services (600 jobs) and education and health services (400 jobs) — continued to experience month-to-month job gains, McDonald said.

He added that the government sector, which had lost 300 jobs in September, gained 2,500 in October.

The leisure and hospitality sector saw a decline of 400 jobs.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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