Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 4
Santa Barbara County's unemployment rate creeps up
BY AMY ASMAN
Santa Barbara County’s unemployment rate increased to 8.4 percent in January, according to data recently released by the State Employment Development Department (EDD).
The number of people who are without jobs is more than it was in December 2012 (7.7 percent) and in November 2012 (7.3 percent), but well below the rate from January of last year (9.2 percent).
The county isn’t alone in this trend; the unemployment rate for California and the nation also increased, from 9.7 to 10.4 percent in the state and from 7.6 to 8.5 percent in the nation.
Local communities lost a total of 4,600 jobs, with the most significant losses seen in trade, transportation, and utilities. Government and leisure and hospitality also took hits. The only industry that showed any gains was professional business services, with an increase of 200 jobs.
Raymond L. McDonald, executive director of the Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board (WIB), said in a statement to the media that, despite the unfortunate jumps, most of the national economic indicators continue to point toward a slow, but steady recovery.
“We should also note that Santa Barbara County’s workforce has increased by 7,100 over the same period last year, and the sectors experiencing loss in this current report are areas that are influenced by seasonal swings,” McDonald added. “The coming months should be watched very closely to see if the slow economic recovery takes hold in Santa Barbara.”
As is often the case with economics, individual cities within the county also experienced hits in unemployment.
Lompoc (14.7 percent), Guadalupe (14.2 percent), and Santa Maria (13 percent) remain at the top of the unemployment list. And Mission Hills, a small community north of Lompoc on Highway 1, hit the double digits this month, jumping from 9.2 percent to 10 percent.
The unemployment rates for other cities throughout the county continue to drop or remain steady at approximately 6 percent or less.