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Business

Santa Barbara County Jobless Rate Rises to 6.3%

The unemployment rate for Santa Barbara County increased to 6.3 percent in June, according to figures released Thursday by the state Employment Development Department.

This is up from a revised 5.6 percent in May, and below the year-ago estimate of 8 percent. This is compared with an unadjusted unemployment rate for California of 8.8 percent and 7.8 percent for the nation during the same period.

Industry sectors in Santa Barbara gained 400 positions, in comparison to last month’s gain of 3,500. The industry with the most significant loss was Government, which trimmed 700 jobs.

Other sectors that saw a decrease in the number of jobs included: Professional and Business Services, which lost 200; Information and Educational, and Health Services with minus 100 jobs each.

On the other hand, Leisure and Hospitality experienced a good increase of 400 jobs. Other sectors with jobs gained included: Construction with a 200 position increase and Manufacturing with 100 positions.

Between June 2012 and June 2013, total employment in Santa Barbara County rose by 3,400 jobs, or 1.8 percent. Some of the highlights for this period included:

» Industries posting substantial gains over the year included: Service Providing — up 1.9 percent or 2,800 jobs; Private Service Providing — up 2.1 percent or 2,400 jobs; Professional & Business Services — up 6.3 percent or 1,600 positions; Administrative, Support and Waste Services — up 9.9 percent or 1,200 jobs.

» Other industries posting substantial gains over the year included: Heath Care — 700 jobs or 4.4 percent; Goods Producing — 600 jobs or 3 percent; Construction — 600 jobs or 9 percent; Educational and Health Services — 600 jobs or 2.7 percent; Health Care and Social Assistance — 600 jobs or 3.1 percent; State and Local Government — 500 jobs or 1.5 percent.

» Industries that lost jobs for this period of time included: Accommodation — minus 200; Manufacturing and Retail Trade — minus 100 jobs, each.

“I think since May was overly positive, it wasn’t a surprise that the numbers leveled off a bit in June,” said Karen Dwyer, Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board member and owner of Express Employment Professionals.

Ray McDonald, director of the Workforce Investment Board, added that “the loss of jobs in some of the sectors could potentially be expected, as many of them (especially government) reach the end of their program year at the end of June when they look to recalibrate their workforce expectations.”

In local cities, Lompoc remains at the top of the list with an unemployment rate of 11.3 percent. Lompoc is followed by Guadalupe with 11 percent, which increased from 9.7 percent last month. Santa Maria, which had 8.8 percent percent unemployment last month, increases to 10 percent for June.

— Raymond McDonald is executive director the Workforce Investment Board.

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