SLO County’s unemployment drops to 4.4 percent in January

San Luis Obispo County’s jobless rate was 4.4 percent in January, below the rate of 5.3 percent in January 2015. It was also below December’s revised 4.5 percent rate.

Because of seasonal work fluctuations, which can be significant, unemployment data are compared with the same month year over year as an indicator of overall trends in joblessness.

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

The county’s rate for January was below the unadjusted unemployment rates of 5.8 percent for California and 5.3 percent for the nation last month.

The county’s rate was eighth best among California’s 58 counties. San Mateo County reported the lowest January jobless rate in the state, at 3.1 percent. Colusa County reported the highest, at 22.4 percent.

Last month, 135,900 people were counted as employed in San Luis Obispo County out of a total civilian labor force of 142,200. The labor force includes everyone working and looking for work.

Excluding the self-employed, companies and agencies in the county reported 400 more jobs in January than in the same month last year — a 0.35 percent increase.

Gains in the trade, transportation and utilities industries boosted job growth in the county, with 1,100 total jobs added in January — a 5.4 percent increase, year over year. Gains in the leisure and hospitality industries also led employment in the county in January, with 1,100 jobs added — up 6.7 percent from the same month last year.

The government industry lost a net total of 2,500 jobs in January, down 9.8 percent from January 2015.

Of the largest cities in the county, Atascadero reported the lowest jobless rate last month, at 3.7 percent, with 600 of its 15,300 residents eligible for the workforce counted as unemployed, according to subcounty data from the Employment Development Department.

The city of San Luis Obispo’s jobless rate was 4.7 percent in January, with 1,200 of its 25,900 eligible residents counted as unemployed.

Paso Robles reported a rate of 5 percent, with 800 of its 16,200 eligible workers unemployed.

Arroyo Grande reported a rate of 3.8 percent, with 400 of its 9,600 eligible workers unemployed.

Data may not add up because of 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.

Danielle Ames: 805-781-7902

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