SLO County unemployment rate continues to drop in May

San Luis Obispo County’s jobless rate dropped to 3.5 percent in May, lower than the rate of 4.3 percent in May 2015. It was lower than April’s revised 3.9 percent rate.

Because of seasonal work fluctuations, which can be significant, unemployment data are compared with those of the same month year over year as an indicator of trends in joblessness. The California Employment Development Department releases monthly data on employment and industry rates.

The county’s rate for May was lower than the unadjusted unemployment rates of 4.7 percent for California and 4.5 percent for the nation in the same month.

The county’s rate was the sixth best among California’s 58 counties, tied with Sonoma County. San Mateo County reported the lowest May jobless rate in the state, at 2.6 percent. Imperial County reported the highest rate, at 19.4 percent.

In May, about 139,800 people were counted as employed in San Luis Obispo County out of a civilian labor force of 144,900. The labor force includes everyone working and looking for work.

Excluding those who are self-employed, companies and agencies in the county reported 3,200 more jobs in May than in the same month last year — about a 2.8 percent increase.

Gains in the trade, transportation and utilities industries boosted job growth in the county — up 1,300 total jobs, or 6.3 percent, from the same month last year.

The leisure and hospitality industries also boosted growth in the county, with 900 jobs added, up 5.1 percent from May 2015.

The professional and business services industries lost a net total of 100 jobs, down 0.8 percent from May last year.

Of the largest cities in the county, Atascadero reported the lowest jobless rate in May, at 2.9 percent, with 500 of its 15,500 residents eligible for the workforce counted as unemployed, according to subcounty data from the EDD.

The city of San Luis Obispo’s jobless rate was 3.7 percent in May, with 1,000 of its 26,400 eligible residents counted as unemployed. Paso Robles reported a rate of 4 percent, with 700 of its 16,700 eligible workers unemployed. Arroyo Grande reported a rate of 3.1 percent, with 300 of its 9,800 eligible workers unemployed.

Data may not add up because of rounding; all 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.

Submit news and notes items for Biz Buzz. Email:; on Twitter @SLOBizBuzz; phone: 781-7902; fax: 781-7905; mail: Biz Buzz, The Tribune, P.O. Box 112, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406-0112.

Tell us your best business advice

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? And how has it helped make you more successful in your business/professional life? Tell us in 100 words or fewer, and send it to We will publish them in future Biz Buzz columns.