February 25, 2024
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Unemployment rate stabilizes across tri-counties in February

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The unemployment rate along the Central Coast was lower in the month of February as the pattern of a usual hike in job loss stabilized after the holiday season, according to data released on March 24 by the California Employment Development Department.

Unemployment data, which is usually released in the third week of the month, is always delayed early in the year for an annual recalibration of the data sets. The recalibration delays the publication of the January and February data.

According to the data released on March 24, the unemployment rate in the tri-county region for the month of February was 4%.

Santa Barbara County had the highest unemployment rate at 4.5% in February and was the only county to not see a slight reduction in its rate month over month.

Ventura County had a 4.1% unemployment rate, down from 4.2% in January while San Luis Obispo’s unemployment rate fell from 3.5% to 3.4%.

For the month of January, the unemployment rate for all three counties was 4.1%.

This comes after a tough holiday stretch which usually sees unemployment rates spike from December to January.

For example, In Ventura County, the unemployment rate rose from 3.5% to 4.2% from December to January, as holiday jobs are beginning to come to an end and there is an overall post-holiday decline in hiring.

Santa Barbara County’s unemployment rate rose from 3.2% in December to 4.5% in January and San Luis Obispo’s rose from 2.4% to 3.5%.

But those jobs are coming back.

The tri-county region added 10,700 jobs in the month of February, with Santa Barbara adding the most at 4,600. Almost half of the jobs added, 5,000, were also non-farming jobs.

San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties combined to add about 900 jobs in the education sector while Santa Barbara County added about 1,100 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector.

The unemployment rate for California was 4.3% in February up from 4.2% in January. Despite the slight growth, California added nearly 33,000 nonfarming jobs.

Of the 311,000 jobs gained nationally in February 2023, California accounted for 32,300, or 10.4%, of the nation’s overall non-farm job growth.

Source: California Employment Development Department