San Luis Obispo County’s jobless rate was an average of 5.6 percent in 2014, making it the best year for employment since the recession.
The California Employment Development Department releases monthly data on employment and industry rates, and at the end of the year calculates the yearly averages based on all 12 months of data.
When the recession hit in 2007, the average jobless rate was 4.3 percent; the next year it jumped to 5.7 percent. The county jobless rate hit an all-time high in 2010, when the average was 10 percent.
Along with the yearly average, the state employment department also recently released San Luis Obispo County’s December employment data.
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San Luis Obispo County's jobless rate in December was 5 percent, down from 5.8 percent in December 2013 and below the adjusted November jobless rate of 5.5 percent.
December tied with May 2014 for the month with the lowest jobless rate since 2008, when the county’s jobless rate jumped from a yearly average of 4.3 percent to 5.7 percent, according to data from the California Employment Development Department.
The county's rate last month also was below the unadjusted December unemployment rates of 6.7 percent for California and 5.4 percent for the nation.
Last month's rate tied with Alameda County for eight best among the state's 58 counties. Elsewhere in the state, Marin County reported the lowest December jobless rate at 3.4 percent, and Imperial County reported the highest at 21 percent.
Last month, 131,500 people were counted as employed in San Luis Obispo County out of a total civilian labor force of 138,500. 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, companies and agencies in the county reported 1,400 more jobs in December than in the same month last year, a 1.3 percent increase.
Gains in the leisure and hospitality industry led job growth in the county, with 800 jobs added in December in that category — a 5 percent increase year over year. Gains in the educational and health services industry also boosted employment in the county last month, with 600 jobs added that month— a 4.4 percent increase over December 2013.
But the trade, transportation and utilities industry lost 1,000 jobs in December, down 4.8 percent from the year-earlier period. Most of the losses occurred in the retail trade subcategory, which lost 900 jobs over the year-earlier period.
Of the three largest cities in the county, Atascadero reported the lowest jobless rate last month at 4.1 percent, with 600 people out of its 15,500 eligible workforce counted as unemployed, according to sub-county data from the state Employment Development Department.
The city of San Luis Obispo's jobless rate was 5.5 percent in December, with 1,500 people out of its 27,800 eligible workforce counted as unemployed.
Paso Robles reported a rate of 6 percent, with 800 of its 13,000 eligible workers counted as unemployed.
Because of a smaller workforce at the city level, sub-county rates are subject to large month-to-month fluctuations.