Unemployment rate in SLO County hits lowest point since April 2008

After dipping below 6 percent for the only the second time in nearly six years in April, San Luis Obispo County's jobless rate fell to its lowest post-recession point ever this May with 5 percent. That’s the lowest rate since April 2008, when the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent.

Unemployment for the county peaked during the recession at 10.5 percent in January 2010, according to data provided by the California Employment Development Department.

The May rate ties San Luis Obispo County with Santa Barbara and Sonoma counties for sixth best among California's 58 counties.

Elsewhere in California, Marin County reported the lowest May jobless rate in the state at 3.8 percent, and Imperial County reported the highest at 21.1 percent.

San Luis Obispo County's rate in May was also below the unadjusted May unemployment rates of 7.1 percent for California and 6.1 percent for the nation.

Last month, 135,000 people were counted as employed in San Luis Obispo County, out of a total civilian labor force of 142,100.

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, county companies and agencies had 2,200 more jobs this May than the same month last year. That represented a 2.1 percent increase.

Gains in the professional health and business services industry led job growth in the county, with 800 jobs added in May in that category — up 6.8 percent from the same period a year ago.

The state and local government category also saw a gain, with 800 jobs added in May, representing a 2.8 percent increase year-over-year.

The retail trade industry lost 400 jobs in May, a 2.9 percent decrease from the year-earlier period.

Unemployment rates by city

At 9.6 percent, Oceano reported the highest unemployment rate in the county in May, with an estimated 400 people out of its 4,200-person labor force being unemployed, according to sub-county data provided by the state Employment Development Department.

The city of San Luis Obispo's unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in May, with 1,600 people out of its 28,600 eligible workforce being counted as unemployed, and Paso Robles had a rate of 6 percent, with 800 of its 13,400 eligible workers being counted as unemployed.

Here's a look at May's unemployment rate for cities and towns in San Luis Obispo County, as provided by the EDD. Because of a smaller workforce on the city level, the sub-county rates are subject to large fluctuations from month to month.

  • Arroyo Grande: 5.1%
  • Atascadero: 4.1%
  • Baywood-Los Osos: 3.8%
  • Cambria: 3.5%
  • Cayucos: 2.9%
  • Grover Beach: 4.9%
  • Lake Nacimiento: 5.1%
  • Morro Bay: 3.9%
  • Nipomo: 6.7%
  • Oceano: 9.6%
  • Paso Robles: 6.0%
  • Pismo Beach: 5.1%
  • San Luis Obispo: 5.5%
  • San Miguel: 5.4%
  • Shandon: 2.5%
  • Templeton: 3.5%