November 22, 2023
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Region’s unemployment rate reaches lowest level of pandemic


The unemployment rate in the tri-county region dropped just below 4% in February, its lowest point since before the pandemic began and down from 4.6% the previous month.

The statewide unemployment rate declined, too, as the omicron wave of COVID-19 cases began to subside, dropping from 5.7% in January to 5.4% in February, according to data released March 25 by the California Employment Development Department.

In the region, Ventura County had a 4.1% unemployment rate in February, down from 4.7% in January. Santa Barbara County’s unemployment rate was 4.3% in February, down from 4.7% in January. And San Luis Obispo, which has had the region’s lowest unemployment rates throughout the pandemic, had a rate of 3.3% in February, down from 3.5% in March.

In all three counties, the labor force grew slightly and the number of unemployed people declined by double digit percentages.

California added 138,100 nonfarm jobs from January to February, accounting for 20.4% of the nation’s job gains that month. The state has now regained 87.2% of the jobs it lost during March and April of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The leisure and hospitality sector led the way statewide, with a net gain of 30,400 jobs in a month. Trade, transportation and utilities, construction, and education and health care also showed strong gains, and none of the state’s major employment sectors lost jobs between January and February.