Growth in government jobs, construction, and professional and management positions helped offset losses in other sectors of San Luis Obispo County employment during the third quarter, according to data from the state and a firm that tracks the local economy.
State and local government — the largest category in the local jobs market — added a seasonally adjusted 1,000 jobs during September alone, according to Los Angeles-based Beacon Economics.
That sector added 2,200 workers since a July trough, growing 12.5 percent to roughly 19,800 workers locally.
For all of 2011, local-government employment alone has soared a seasonally adjusted 31.5 percent, despite many agencies announcing job cuts because of shrinking tax and other revenue.
In contrast, by this time in 2010, local-government employment had shrunk 8.5 percent.
Even with the more recent gains, state and local government employment is still 2.5 percent lower than it was a year ago, according to Beacon’s seasonal adjustment of state Employment Development Department data.
Those gains and the July-through-September top-performing professional and business category helped trim the local unemployment rate to a seasonally adjusted 9.5 percent in September from August’s 9.6 percent.
Seasonal adjustment is a statistical method that removes or discounts normal seasonal changes, such as holiday retail hiring or the shedding of some public education jobs at the end of each school year.
Nonfarm employment in San Luis Obispo County grew by 100 jobs to a seasonally adjusted 96,600 in September, according to the EDD. It grew by the same number year-over-year, according to the state.
Construction, another key local industry, lost some jobs in September. But that doesn’t necessarily suggest an end to a slow but steady upward trend that started a year ago, according to Brad Kemp, Beacon’s director of regional research.
State nonseasonal data and Beacon’s seasonal data also show a longer-term upward trend since the local industry’s trough in December 2009, when it shrank to its lowest employment level in the past three years.
The construction sector added 300 jobs in September from the same month in 2010, and 500 since the December 2009 low, for a current employment of 5,200.
With new home sales and construction nearly flat, those added jobs could be attributed to commercial building or remodeling, Kemp said.
The professional and business category grew the most during the third quarter, adding about 200 jobs for a total of 9,900, according to Beacon’s seasonally adjusted data.
That category includes professionals, as well as people in scientific and technical services jobs, plus company managers, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Manufacturing and real estate — sales, renting and leasing — were the two lowest-performing sectors of the third quarter, respectively, according to Beacon data.
Manufacturing shed 165 jobs during July through September, leaving 2,557 people employed in that sector. Real estate lost 105, with 1,486 in that category as of September.