September 29, 2023
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Unemployment drops in state and region


Unemployment in the tri-county region dropped to near pre-pandemic levels in November, at a combined rate of 4.1% for Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, according to data released Dec. 17 by the California Employment Development Department.

All three counties had significantly lower unemployment rates than the state as a whole, which reported 6.9% unemployment in November, down from 7.3% the previous month.

Ventura County’s unemployment rate in November was 4.4%, down from 5% in October and 6.4% in November 2020. It’s unemployment rate in March 2020, in the last survey taken before the pandemic hit, was 4.2%

Santa Barbara County posted a 3.9% unemployment rate in November, down from 4.4% in October and 5.7% in November 2020. In Santa Barbara County, unemployment has now dipped lower than it was in March 2020, when the rate was 4.9%.

In San Luis Obispo County, the unemployment rate was 3.6% in November, down from 4.3% in October and 5.4% in November 2020. The rate was 3.5% in March 2020.

Though unemployment rates are relatively low, the labor market has not recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated disruptions. The workforce and the number of jobs are still much smaller than they were before the pandemic; unemployment rates have dropped through a combination of job creation and a shrinking workforce, as many people have stopped looking for work.

In the year from November 2020 to November 2021, the tri-county region’s total workforce grew by 2.1%, to reach 766,600. During that year, the number of employed people in the region grew by 4%, and the number of unemployed people fell by 29.5%.

The state as a whole added 45,700 non-farm jobs in November, bringing the total job growth since April 2020 to around 1.9 million jobs, or around 70% of those lost in the first two months of the pandemic. The biggest gains were in the professional and business services sector and in education and health services.