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Unemployment Rate for Santa Barbara County Drops to 6.7% in March

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

In Santa Barbara County, the unemployment rate decreased to 6.7 percent in March, from a revised 7.2 percent in February and below the year-ago estimate of 7.4 percent. This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 8.4 percent for California and 6.8 percent for the nation during the same period.

The county’s unemployment ranking in March, compared with the other 57 counties in California, positioned Santa Barbara County in 10th place behind Alameda, Sonoma and San Luis Obispo counties.

Industry sectors in Santa Barbara County gained 4,300 jobs, from the 5,000 positions lost last month. Every industry sector in Santa Barbara County gained positions or remained steady for the month of March.

Professional and Business Services gained the most number of positions with 1,200 jobs; Government increased by 600 positions; Leisure and Hospitality was up by 300 jobs; Construction and Manufacturing both gained 100 positions each. All other industries experienced no change in their labor force.

Between March 2013 and March 2014, total employment in Santa Barbara County rose by 2,300 jobs or 1.2 percent. Some of the highlights for this period included:

» Industries posting substantial gains over the year included: Professional and Business Services — up 7.3 percent or 1,700 jobs; Professional, Scientific and Technical Services — up 6.9 percent or 800 jobs; Management of Companies and Enterprises — up 10.5 percent or 200 positions; Administrative and Support and Waste Services — up 7.2 percent or 700 jobs.

» Some of the Industries that lost jobs for this period of time included: Mining and Logging — down 8.3 percent or 100; Federal Government — minus 200 positions or 5.3 percent and Arts, Entertainment and Recreation — down 3.2 percent or 100 jobs.

“We are delighted to see our unemployment numbers return to normal; nevertheless, we still continue to work with our community partners and the private industry to find ways to put people back to work," Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board Director Raymond McDonald said. "As an example, the Workforce Investment Board, together with other local government agencies and private organizations, will be hosting the second annual Job and Resource Fairs in Lompoc May 1 and Santa Maria June 12. We are inviting employers and job seekers alike to come out and join us.”

The number of people unemployed in the county’s major cities also decreased. Santa Maria had the most residents unemployed with 4,300 (10.6 percentof its workforce), followed by Santa Barbara city with 2,700 unemployed (4.7 percent of its workforce), and Lompoc with 2,400 residents looking for employment (11.9 percent).

The labor force in the county, defined as the number of individual in the workforce looking for employment, grew by 4,800 more workers looking for jobs. This left Santa Barbara County with a labor force of 209,700 workers for the month of March. The cities with the highest labor force continue to be Santa Barbara with 56,800, followed by Santa Maria with 40,400 and Lompoc with 20,500 workers.

Santa Barbara County cities' unemployment data for January, February and March, respectively:

» Santa Barbara County — 7.3%, 7.1%, 6.7%

» Lompoc — 12.8%, 12.7%, 11.9%

» Guadalupe — 12.4%, 12.3%, 11.6%

» Santa Maria — 11.3%, 11.2%, 10.6%

» Buellton — 5.2%, 5.2%, 4.9%

» Santa Barbara — 5.1%, 5%, 4.7%

» Santa Ynez — 3.6%, 3.6%, 3.4%

» Carpinteria — 3.6%, 3.5%, 3.3%

» Goleta — 3.6%, 3.5%, 3.3%

» Solvang — 2.7%, 2.7%, 2.5%

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