SLO County's unemployment rate in April is lowest since May 2008

kleslie@thetribunenews.comMay 19, 2014 

San Luis Obispo County’s 5.2 percent jobless rate in April — its lowest unemployment rate since May 2008 — marks the second time that the rate has fallen below 6 percent since the recession hit in 2008.

It temporarily dipped to 5.8 percent in December 2013 but increased to 6.2 percent in January. April unemployment for the county peaked during the recession at 9.9 percent in 2010, according to data provided by the California Employment Development Department.

The April rate ranks San Luis Obispo County as sixth best among California's 58 counties.

Elsewhere in California, Marin County reported the lowest April jobless rate in the state at 3.9 percent, and Imperial County had the highest at 21.6 percent.

San Luis Obispo County's rate in April was also below the unadjusted April unemployment rates of 7.3 percent for California and 5.9 percent for the nation.

Last month, 133,400 people were counted as employed in San Luis Obispo County, out of a total civilian labor force of 140,700.

The labor force, also called the labor participation rate, includes everyone working, looking for work or receiving unemployment benefits in the county.

Excluding the self-employed, county companies and agencies had 1,400 more jobs this April than the same month last year. That represented a 1.3 percent increase.

Gains in the government industry led job growth in the county, with 900 jobs added in April in that category — up 4.1 percent from the same period a year ago.

The service-providing category also saw a gain, with 1,000 jobs added in April, representing a 1.1 percent increase year-over-year.

The retail trade industry lost 500 jobs in April, a 3.7 percent decrease from the year-earlier period.

At 10 percent, Oceano reported the highest unemployment rate in the county in April, with an estimated 400 people out of its 4,200-person labor force being unemployed, according to sub-county data provided by the state Employment Development Department.

The city of San Luis Obispo's unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in April, with 1,600 people out of its 28,300 eligible workforce being counted as unemployed, and Paso Robles had a rate of 6.2 percent, with 800 of its 13,200 eligible workers being counted as unemployed.

Because of a smaller workforce on the city level, the sub-county rates are subject to large fluctuations from month to month.

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