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State Releases Unemployment Data for November, Projections for Year 2020

The State Employment Development Department on Friday released the unemployment rate and other jobs data for the month of November.

The unemployment rate increased slightly to 6.2 percent during the month of November, up from a revised 6.1 percent in October and below the year-ago estimate of 7.3 percent. This compares with an unadjusted rate of 8.3 percent for California and 6.6 percent for the nation during the same period.

The county’s unemployment ranking in November, compared with the other 57 counties in California, positioned Santa Barbara County, along with Santa Clara County, at the sixth-lowest unemployment percentage level in the state. The neighbor county of San Luis Obispo is now tied with Napa and Sonoma County for fifth place.

Industry sectors in Santa Barbara County showing favorable gains included Trade, Transportation & Utilities, with an increase of 800 jobs in Retail sales associated with the holidays.  Government (education) also showed an increase of 300 jobs, while Information and Educational and Health Services both gained 100 positions each. Some of the industry sectors that experienced decreases in their labor force include tourism-related Leisure & Hospitality, with 500 jobs. Professional & Business Services and Construction both lost 200 positions. Financial Activities had a minus of 100 jobs, while Mining and Logging and Manufacturing remained unchanged.

In addition to Friday's unemployment numbers, the State Employment Development Department also released this week the 2010-2020 Projections of Employment by Industry and Occupation for Santa Barbara County. According to this publication, the employment in the county is expected to increase 13.5 percent and reach 230,100 by 2020. Sixty-nine percent of all projected nonfarm job growth is concentrated in four industry sectors:

» Educational services, health care, and social assistance — 5,200 jobs (with the subsectors health care and social assistance adding 4,500 jobs)
» Professional and business services — 4,300 positions
» Leisure and hospitality — 3,500 (with accommodation and food services adding 3,000 jobs)
» Retail trade —– 3,100 jobs (with most of the growth happening in food and beverage stores (1,000)

Occupational employment projections forecast approximately 77,200 job openings for 2020. This is broken down into new jobs (approximately 28,200) and replacement needs (49,100). There are 50 occupations that are projected to generate 55 percent of all job openings. The top three occupations with the most openings are farm workers and laborers, crops, nursery and greenhouse; cashiers; and waiters and waitresses. Higher-skilled occupations include elementary school teachers, except special education; accountants and auditors; and software developers, and systems software. Click here for the complete publication.

“Although the Holiday Season may not be indicative of long-term trends, improvement in our unemployment numbers and projections are encouraging," Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board Director Raymond McDonald said. "We are happy to see that industry sectors the Employment Development Department is highlighting align with the WIB-designated Industry Clusters of Opportunity.

“It is important for our community to focus on creating more high-skilled and high-paying jobs. This latest data supports the WIB’s own research that many of the projected jobs in the future are in low-skilled and low-paying occupations.”

For local cities, Lompoc remains at the top of the list with an unemployment rate of 11.1 percent, up from 10.9 percent. Guadalupe follows with a rate of 10.8 percent, up from 10.6 percent last month. Solvang, on the other hand, has one of the lowest unemployment numbers in the county (2.3 percent).

According to INJCJC, US Initial Jobless Claims SA, the weekly initial jobless claims totals used to calculate local and federal UI (unemployment insurance) ratings is determined by the actual number of people who have filed for Unemployment benefits for the first time in a given period. And the following five eligibility criteria must be met in order to file for Unemployment benefits: 1. meet the requirement of time worked during a 1 year period (full time or not), 2. have become unemployed through no fault of your own (was not fired), 3. must be able to work, no physical or mental holdbacks, 4. must be available for work, and 5. must be actively seeking work.

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

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