San Luis Obispo County’s jobless rate has fallen below 6 percent for the first time since June 2008, state data shows, putting it sixth best among California’s 58 counties.
At 5.7 percent in May, the county’s unemployment rate was well below the May 2012 rate of 7.9 percent – and 40 percent lower than the May 2010 rate of 9.5 percent, the highest rate recorded for a May during the economic downturn.
The new data is not seasonally adjusted.
Because of seasonal work fluctuations—which can be significant—unemployment data are compared with the same month year-over-year. The county’s rate for May of this year was also below the unadjusted unemployment rates of 8.1 percent for California and 7.3 percent for the nation.
Last month, 138,800 people were counted as employed in SLO County out of a total civilian labor force of 147,100.
The labor force, also called the labor participation rate, includes everyone working, looking for work or receiving unemployment benefits in San Luis Obispo County.
Elsewhere in California, Marin County reported the lowest rate at 4.5 percent, and Imperial County had the highest rate at 22.8 percent. Excluding the self-employed, county companies and agencies had 4,400 more jobs this May than in April 2012, up 4.1 percent.
Gains in professional and business services led job growth in the county for the fourth straight month, with 2,000 jobs added in May in that category alone—a year-over-year increase of 18.3 percent.
Next was the educational and health services category, which added 700 jobs in May to grow 5.9 percent year over year.
The state manufacturing employment category fell 1.6 percent, with a year-over-year loss of 100 jobs.