SLO County unemployment rate continues to drop

San Luis Obispo County's jobless rate was 4.3 percent in April, down from 5.1 percent in April 2014. It also was below March’s revised 4.6 percent rate.

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

The county's rate last month also was lower than the unadjusted April unemployment rates of 6.1 percent for California and 5.1 percent for the nation.

Because of seasonal work fluctuations — which can be significant — unemployment data are compared with the same month year over year.

April's rate was eighth best among the state's 58 counties. San Mateo County reported the lowest April jobless rate in the state, at 3.2 percent. Imperial County reported the highest, at 21.2 percent.

Last month, 135,200 people were counted as employed in San Luis Obispo County out of a total civilian labor force of 141,200. 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 2,700 more jobs in April than in the same month last year — a 2.4 percent increase.

Gains in the educational and health services industries led job growth in the county, with 1,200 total jobs added in April — an 8.4 percent increase year over year. Gains in the trade, transportation and utilities industries also boosted employment in the county in April, with 500 jobs added — up 2.5 percent from the same month last year.

The government industry lost a net total of 600 jobs in April, down 2.5 percent from April 2014. Most of the losses occurred in the local government subcategory, which shed 1,100 jobs from April 2014.

Of the largest cities in the county, Atascadero reported the lowest jobless rate last month at 3.6 percent, with 500 out of its 15,200 residents eligible for the workforce counted as unemployed, according to subcounty data from the state Employment Development Department.

The city of San Luis Obispo's jobless rate was 4.6 percent in April, with 1,200 out of its 25,800 eligible residents counted as unemployed.

Paso Robles reported a rate of 4.8 percent, with 800 of its 16,100 eligible workers unemployed.

Arroyo Grande reported a rate of 3.7 percent, with 400 out of its 9,500 eligible workers unemployed.

Data may not add due to rounding. All unemployment rates reported are calculated on unrounded data.

Because of a smaller workforce at the city level, subcounty rates are subject to large month-to-month fluctuations.