SLO County unemployment hits low despite decrease in jobs

January 27, 2015

unemploymentSan Luis Obispo County’s unemployment rate fell last month to a more than six-year low, even though the amount of jobs in the county decreased by nearly 4,000.

The county unemployment rate dropped to 5 percent in December, marking the lowest jobless figure since April 2008. The monthly improvement in the jobless rate, though, can largely be attributed to a decline in the size of the county’s labor force.

From November to December, the labor force shrunk by 4,400 potential workers from 142,900 to 138,500. The county’s labor pool has decreased from November to December for each of the last 10 years.

In December 2014, the county lost 3,600 jobs that existed in the previous month. Employment fell from 135,100 in November to 131,500 in December.

The largest decline in employment occurred in the government sector. December concluded with 2,000 fewer government jobs in the county than in November.

The farming sector had the second highest decline, losing 700 jobs last month.

Despite last month’s decline in total employment, the unemployment rate in the county has been steadily shrinking for several years.

Following the 2008-2009 recession, unemployment in San Luis Obispo County peaked in January 2010 at 10.5 percent. The jobless rate has remained below 10 percent since August 2011.

Since then, unemployment fell to 5 percent once prior to last month, reaching the mark in May 2014. But, the jobless figure then climbed for a couple months before dropping again.

San Luis Obispo County currently has the 8th lowest unemployment rate among California’s 58 counties. Marin County has the lowest, 3.4 percent, and Imperial County has the highest, 21.0 percent.

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Some people have just applied for disability, or have given up and moved in with family and are depending on family for living expenses for now and living on welfare.