This is down from a revised 7.2 percent in March 2013, and below the year-ago estimate of 7.7 percent. This is compared to an unadjusted unemployment rate for California of 8.5 percent and 7.1 percent for the nation during the same period.

The annual rate for Santa Barbara County has steadily increased from 2008 at 5.4%; 2009 at 8.4%; 2010 at 9.4%; 2011 at 8.9% and finally, 2012 showing a drop at 8.0%. If projections hold true then 2012 and on should show steady decreases with 2013 dropping to 7.2 and eventually to 5.0% by 2016.

Industry sectors in Santa Barbara gained 3, 200 jobs for the month of April. Leisure and Hospitality led the way adding 600 positions this month; Construction was second with 200; third was Mining and Logging with 100 jobs. Other industries like Manufacturing, Information, Professional & Business Services, and Educational & Health Services experienced no change in their labor force. The two industries that saw a decrease were: Trade, Transportation & Utilities, and Government (each cutting 100 jobs).

Between April 2012 and April 2013, total employment in Santa Barbara County rose by 5,400 jobs or 2.9 percent. Some of the highlights included:

Industries posting substantial gains over the year included: Service providing (up 2.9% or 4,300 jobs), Professional & Business Services (up 7.7% or 1,900 positions), Administrative, Support and Waste Services (up 12% or 1,400 jobs).

Educational & Health Services (up 3.7% or 800 jobs), Health Care & Social Assistance (up 3.7% or 700 positions) and Leisure & Hospitality (up 3.1% or 700 jobs).

Job gains within Government (up by 500 jobs).

Other industries posting substantial gains over the year included: Mining and Logging (up by 3.6% or 700 jobs), and Construction up by 9.1% or 600 positions.

In contrast, Retail Trade trimmed 300 jobs and Federal Government 100 positions for the year.

Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) Executive Director, Raymond L. McDonald stated, “ This is a surprising and encouraging report, indicating a slow but steady increase in all industries, beginning with housing construction in the county—especially in North and Mid-County. And where housing construction starts pick up, there may be increased buying and investing from the banking community. This cycle creates confidence in a slow economy and allows more entrepreneurship, business expansion, and continual improvement overall.”

In our local cities the unemployment rate also dropped significantly; the City of Santa Maria fell below the 10% unemployment rate for the month of April. The cities of Lompoc at 10.8 percent and Guadalupe at 10.4 percent also improved, but are still holding the highest unemployment rates for the region.


The Workforce Investment Board is dedicated to serving the workforce needs of businesses, adults, laid-off workers and youth throughout Santa Barbara County. The WIB is a public/private partnership created by the Federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and is staffed by the County of Santa Barbara.

Job seekers and employers can take advantage of free services at two Workforce Resource Centers (“One-Stops”) to help find work or new employees. Programs include employment services for job seekers, the latest labor market information and regional workforce research for businesses, as well as training that specialize in helping people gain the skills and confidence necessary to find and obtain a job. The One-Stop Shops are at 1410 S. Broadway in Santa Maria, (805) 614-1550, and 130 E. Ortega Street in Santa Barbara, (805) 568-1296. Online information is available here.


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