SLO County's unemployment rate dips to 6.1 percent in October

San Luis Obispo County's jobless rate was 6.1 percent in October, the lowest for that month since 2008, when unemployment was also 6.1 percent, according to data released by the California Employment Development Department.

October unemployment for the county peaked during the recession at 9.4 percent in 2010.

The latest rate is down 17.6 percent from the October 2012 estimate of 7.4 percent.

September’s unemployment rate, which was released with the October data because the government shutdown delayed the original reporting schedule, also showed a year-over-year decrease, with only 6 percent of the civilian labor force being unemployed, compared to 7.5 percent in 2012.

The September rate was the lowest monthly unemployment rate reported in the county so far this year.

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.

Last month's rate ties SLO County with Sonoma and Santa Barbara counties for sixth best among California's 58 counties.

Elsewhere in California, Marin County reported the lowest October jobless rate at 4.8 percent, and Imperial County had the highest rate at 25.2 percent.

San Luis Obispo County's rate in October was also below the unadjusted October unemployment rates of 8.3 percent for California and 7 percent for the nation.

Last month, 137,800 people were counted as employed in SLO County out of a total civilian labor force of 146,700.

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, SLO County companies and agencies had 3,600 more jobs this October than in the year-earlier month. That represented a 3.5 percent increase.

Gains in the mining, lodging and construction category led job growth in the county, with 700 jobs added in October in that category alone — a year-over-year increase of 12.7 percent.

The local government category also saw job growth, with a year-over-year increase of 6.5 percent to 11,500 jobs in October.

State government lost 300 jobs, with the highest percentage in state government education positions. That category shrank 7.7 percent to 3,600 jobs in October.