San Luis Obispo County's jobless rate was 6.9 percent in July, the lowest for that month since July 2008, when unemployment in the county was 6.3 percent, according to data released by the California Employment Development Department.
July unemployment for the county peaked during the recession at 10.2 percent in July 2010.
The latest rate is 18.5 percent below the July 2012 estimate of 8.6 percent.
Because of seasonal work fluctuations — which can be significant — unemployment data are compared with the same month year-over-year. The data are not seasonally adjusted.
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Last month's rate puts SLO County seventh best among California's 58 counties for employment statistics.
The county's rate was also below the unadjusted July unemployment rates of 9.3 percent for California and 7.7 percent for the nation.
Last month, 136,000 people were counted as employed in SLO County out of a total civilian labor force of 146,100.
The labor force, also called the labor participation rate, includes everyone working, looking for work or receiving unemployment benefits in the county.
Elsewhere in California, Marin County reported the lowest jobless rate at 5.3 percent, and Imperial County had the highest rate at 26.1 percent.
Excluding the self-employed, SLO County companies and agencies had 2,700 more jobs this July than in July 2012, up 2.7 percent year over year.
Gains in the mining, logging and construction category led job growth in the county, with 600 jobs added in July in that category alone — a year-over-year increase of 11.3 percent.
The professional and business services category grew 10.3 percent to 12,900 jobs in July.
Government lost 700 jobs, with the highest percentage coming from state government education. That category shrank 20 percent from 3,900 to 3,100 jobs in July.