Biz Buzz: No change in SLO county unemployment rate

Unemployment in San Luis Obispo County continues at more than double pre-recession levels, staying flat at 10 percent in June from the same month last year, according to state data.

Though the local economy lost 800 jobs in June from a year before, the unemployment rate stayed the same because the size of the county’s labor force shrank by 1,000 year-over-year, the state Employment Development Department reported.

That suggests some of the unemployed have stopped looking for work, their benefits ran out or they moved out of the area.

Farming and professional and business service categories posted the highest job losses in June from a year before. Those categories lost 700 and 600 jobs, respectively, year-over-year, according to state data.

There were modest gains in the construction, educational and health services, leisure and hospitality and government categories. The first two categories gained 200 jobs each year-over-year, and the other two each gained 100 jobs.

June’s job losses ticked up the unemployment rate back to the low double-digits for the second time this year. The state revised May’s non-seasonally adjusted rate for San Luis Obispo County to 9 percent.

The highest nonseasonal unemployment rate this year was in January, at 10.3 percent, according to the state.

Local unemployment remains lower than the statewide rate, a seasonally adjusted 11.8 percent, but higher than the national 9.2 percent seasonally adjusted rate.

Seasonal adjustment is a statistical method that removes typical employment patterns that historically take place throughout the year, such as additional retail hiring during the holiday shopping season.

In June 2007, before the recession officially began but as the economy started to slow, San Luis Obispo County posted a 4.4 percent jobless rate.

That grew to 5.6 percent for June a year later, and 9 percent in June 2009, according to state data.

— Antonio A. Prado