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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Santa Barbara County unemployment continues to decrease, but still far from pre-pandemic levels

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2020 at 11:35 AM

Santa Barbara County’s unemployment rate dropped from 11.5 percent in June to 10 percent in July, according to data released by California’s Labor Market Information Division.

That equates to about 1,600 workers returning to the workforce, a newsletter from Raymond McDonald, the Santa Barbara County Workforce Development Board’s executive director. June saw a larger decrease in the unemployment rate with about 4,000 workers returning to the workforce.

click to enlarge TRENDING DOWN After peaking in April, Santa Barbara County's unemployment rate has steadily declined, though it’s still far from pre-pandemic levels. - GRAPH COURTESY OF CALIFORNIA'S LABOR MARKET INFORMATION DIVISION
  • GRAPH COURTESY OF CALIFORNIA'S LABOR MARKET INFORMATION DIVISION
  • TRENDING DOWN After peaking in April, Santa Barbara County's unemployment rate has steadily declined, though it’s still far from pre-pandemic levels.
While employment has steadily improved since April 2020—when the county unemployment rate peaked at 14 percent—the rate’s slow and steady decrease still has a long way to go to meet pre-pandemic levels. In July 2019, the county’s unemployment rate was 3.6 percent, according to the Labor Market Information Division.

Compared to California as a whole, Santa Barbara County is doing well: The county’s August unemployment rate was nearly 4 percent lower than the state’s.

Just about every local industry is still in a jobs deficit compared to this time last year, with the only exception being mining, logging, and construction. These sectors have seen a year-over-year increase of 300 to 400 workers in the county. Leisure and hospitality have been hit the hardest: this sector employed 21,500 workers in July 2020, down from 29,000 in July 2019.

Santa Barbara County also announced in an Aug. 26 press release that more than 4,000 business attestations have now been submitted countywide. These attestations involved completing a series of tasks, so businesses are ready to open during the pandemic when they are allowed to do so.

“We are very pleased to see so many businesses taking important steps to safely reopen their businesses during the pandemic,” Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Chair Gregg Hart said in the release. “This demonstrates the amazing resiliency of the business community and their perseverance during this difficult and unprecedented time.”

According to Reopening in Safe Environment (RISE), a county initiative helping businesses prepare to open their doors again, as of Aug. 14 more than 900 dine-in restaurants and nearly 700 retail stores had completed their attestations, plus many more from office workspaces, salons, gyms, hotels, and other sectors. ∆



—Malea Martin
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