The tri-county region’s combined unemployment rate inched down from 6.2% in June to 6.1% in July, as both the labor force and the number of jobs grew in each county.
Ventura County’s unemployment rate in July was 6.4%, the same as the previous month, according to data released Aug. 20 by the California Employment Development Department. Santa Barbara County’s unemployment rate was 5.8% in July, down from 5.9% in June, and San Luis Obispo County’s unemployment dropped slightly as well, from 5.8% in June to 5.7% in July.
The tri-county region has a healthier job market than the state as a whole, as it has throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. California’s unemployment rate was 7.6% in July, the same as in June, and the lowest rate since March 2020. The June rate was originally announced at 7.7% last month, and it was revised downward with the Aug. 20 data release.
In the state and the tri-county region, the picture has improved greatly since early in the pandemic, when the statewide unemployment rate was 14.1% in June 2020. But progress has slowed in recent months, and California’s unemployment rate remains far higher than the national rate of 5.4%. California has regained only 58.3% of the 2.7 million jobs lost in March and April 2020, according to the EDD.
Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties all added jobs from June to July. Ventura County led the way with 2,500 new jobs in the month, while Santa Barbara County added 600 jobs and San Luis Obispo County added 500.
But that didn’t translate to big changes in the unemployment rate because each county also had more people in the workforce in July. Across the region, there were 3,200 more people in the workforce than in the prior month — a positive sign, as many people stopped looking for work during the pandemic and were no longer counted among the unemployed.
Statewide, the economy added 114,400 jobs from June to July. The biggest increases were in the leisure and hospitality sector, which includes restaurants, with 56,600 additional jobs.