County Unemployment Figures a Mixed Bag

The most recent unemployment numbers for Santa Barbara County present positive news for the area as a whole but negative news for certain cities and sectors.

In November, the countywide rate fell to 5.7 percent, down from 6.4 percent in November 2013, according to figures released by the State Employment Development Department. That same time period also saw the countywide workforce jump by 5,000 positions, up to 228,200 from 223,200 the year before.

However, the county’s Workforce Investment Board cautioned, much of the surge in jobs was in retail ahead of the holiday shopping season and thus could be a temporary spike reflecting temporary positions. Government jobs increased by 300, but those in the business sector were stagnant.

The countywide unemployment rate has mostly been on the decline since January, with increases from previous months only in June, July, October, and November. Lompoc suffered the highest unemployment in November, going back up to 10.3 percent from the previous month’s 9.7 percent. Guadalupe fared second-worst, increasing to 10 percent from 9.4 percent.

Moving down the list were the cities of Santa Maria, Buellton, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Carpinteria, Goleta, and Solvang, which has enjoyed the lowest unemployment rate all year, now at 2.1 percent.

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