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Santa Barbara County’s Jobless Rate Down 0.3% in October

Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria rank among local cities with the lowest numbers

Santa Barbara County’s unemployment numbers for October dropped to 8.7 percent, down 0.3 percent from last month, according to monthly information released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.

The average unadjusted (not seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate of 8.7 percent for the county in October is lower than the county’s 9 percent rate for September, and also down 0.1 percent from the revised, 8.8 percent rate recorded a year ago for September 2009.

This compares to the current unadjusted unemployment rate statewide of 12 percent for California and 9 percent for the nation during the same reporting period of September, according to the EDD.

Although Santa Barbara County’s average unemployment rate showed a positive dip for October — including some progress in the county’s cities of Lompoc, Guadalupe and Santa Maria — the county’s unemployment ranking compared with the other 57 counties in California went from second lowest to third lowest. Marin County reported the lowest unemployment rate among all 58 California counties, at 8 percent, while San Mateo County came in second lowest at 8.5 percent. Santa Barbara County was third, at 8.7 percent, while Imperial County suffers the highest average unemployment rate in the California, and most of the nation, at 29.3 percent.

California’s seasonally adjusted rate for October was 12.4 percent, the same rate as reported for September and was listed as 12.2 percent for October 2009. The national average seasonally adjusted rates reported by the EDD include 9.6 percent for October, 9.6 percent for September and 10.1 percent for one year ago in October 2009.

“We’re glad to see the county’s unemployment rates drop, especially as we enter the holiday season,” said Karen Dwyer, a small-business owner and member of the Workforce Investment Board’s Board of Directors. “We need to remember, however, that we’re talking about real people, not just numbers, and we have more than 19,000 people unemployed in our county who want to work and we still have a long way to go to make sure that everybody who can is back to work.”

The October report shows Santa Barbara County has about 19,500 unemployed workers out of a total local labor force of about 224,000, meaning about 204,500 were employed last month. In September, the EDD reports showed the county had a (revised) total labor force of about 222,100 people, with 202,100 employed and about 20,000 unemployed.

For October, Santa Barbara County’s cities in the north continue to be hit with the area’s highest unemployment rates. Locally, the highest unemployment rates for Santa Barbara County’s cities continues to be Lompoc at 15.3 percent (down from September’s 15.8 percent), Guadalupe at 14.8 percent (also down from the 15.3 percent recorded for September) and Santa Maria at 13.5 percent (down from 14.0 percent).

The cities with the lowest rates for October were Solvang at 3.3 percent (3.4 percent in September), Goleta at 4.3 percent (4.5 percent in September) and Carpinteria at 4.4 percent (4.5 percent in September). Santa Barbara recorded a rate of 6.1 percent (6.4 percent in September), and Buellton was shown with rate of 6.3 percent for October (6.6 percent in September).

For October, the EDD continued to show double-digit unemployment rates for the county’s statistical census areas, with Vandenberg Air Force Base at 13.8 percent (14.3 percent in September), Los Alamos at 12.5 percent (13 percent in September), Isla Vista at 11.8 percent (12.2 percent for September) and Mission Hills at 10.4 percent (10.8 percent in September), while Orcutt dropped to 9.7 percent, down from 10.1 percent.

— William Boyer represents the Workforce Investment Board of Santa Barbara County.

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