SLO County's unemployment rate rises in January from month before

San Luis Obispo County’s jobless rate increased slightly in January to 5.4 percent — up from 5.1 percent in December but still significantly lower than the year-ago rate of 6.2 percent.

The California Employment Development Department releases monthly data on employment and industry rates.

When the recession hit in 2007, the average jobless rate in San Luis Obispo County was 4.3 percent; the next year it jumped to 5.7 percent. The county jobless rate hit a high in 2010, when the average was 10 percent.

The county’s rate last month also was below the unadjusted January unemployment rates of 7.3 percent for California and 6.1 percent for the nation.

January’s rate tied with Alameda County for seventh best among the state’s 58 counties. Elsewhere in the state, San Mateo County reported the lowest January jobless rate at 3.9 percent, and Colusa County reported the highest at 23.2 percent.

Last month, 130,100 people were counted as employed in San Luis Obispo County out of a total civilian labor force of 138,600. 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, companies and agencies in the county reported 2,400 more jobs in January than in the same month last year, a 2.2 percent increase.

Gains in the educational and health services industry led job growth in the county, with 600 jobs added in January — a 4.3 percent increase year over year. Gains in the leisure and hospitality services industry also boosted employment in the county in January, with 500 jobs added that month — a 3.2 percent increase over January 2014.

But the government industry lost 700 jobs in January, down 3 percent from the year-earlier period. Most of the losses occurred in the local government subcategory, which shed 800 jobs over the year-earlier period.

The California Employment Development Department also releases monthly data on sub-county areas, but January’s numbers were not in as of Tuesday.