Santa Barbara County’s unemployment rate has fallen to a level not seen since July 2008, before the Great Recession hit, according to the county’s Workforce Investment Board (WIB). Figures presented by the State Employment Development Department show that the countywide unemployment rate in April was 5.4 percent, down from 6.8 percent in March and from 6.3 percent in April 2013. Santa Barbara County’s overall rate fares better than California’s (7.3 percent) and the country’s (5.9 percent).
Another positive trend saw all of the county’s cities experience single-digit unemployment rates in April, which WIB stated was the first time that has happened in several years. Cities throughout the county — and the county as a whole, too — have also shown only decreases in their respective unemployment rates over the last four months. In January, Lompoc’s rate clocked in at 12.8 percent; it is now at 9.7 percent. In Santa Maria, the January rate was 11.3 percent, which has since decreased to 8.6 percent. Both Goleta and Carpinteria saw January rates of 3.6 percent but are now both down to 2.6 percent. The City of Santa Barbara hovered at 5.1 percent in January and is now coming in at 3.8 percent. Solvang, which has had lower rates than any other city in the county, is down to 2 percent from 2.7 percent in January.