The loss of 5,600 jobs countywide in July sent San Luis Obispo County’s unemployment rate back into the double digits, rising to 10.5 percent from June’s revised 9.9 percent, according to state data.
Most of those losses were government jobs. That sector shed 5,100 jobs in July compared to June, according to the state Employment Development Department.
But year over year, there were 1,900 fewer government jobs in San Luis Obispo County in July compared to the same month in 2010.
That suggests hiring in the months in between offset some of last month’s losses.
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Also, the state’s monthly local unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted. So, it is subject to larger swings caused by typical employment patterns that happen through the year, such as the shedding of some jobs in public education in which workers can claim unemployment benefits during summer months.
The service category posted the second-highest number of year-over-year job losses, down 400 positions in July.
But construction and educational and health services categories both gained 400 jobs in July from the same month a year ago, according to state data.
Compared to a year ago, when the local unemployment rate was also 10.5 percent, there were 3,000 fewer people employed in all industries countywide in July, according to the state.
Despite those year-over-year job losses, the unemployment rate stayed the same because the size of the local labor force shrank 2.5 percent, losing 3,400 potential workers.
State and federal labor statisticians define the labor force as people capable of, and actively searching for, employment or trying to start a business.
So the local labor force could shrink when people who have been unemployed give up looking for work or move out of the county.
July’s local unemployment rate remains more than twice pre-recession levels. In July 2007, San Luis Obispo County’s unemployment stood at 4.6 percent, and the same month of 2006 had a 4.1 percent unemployment rate.
And for two years, local unemployment has hovered in a range between 9 percent and 10.7 percent, according to state data.