California’s unemployment rate rose nearly one percentage point to 9% in December, as the state’s employers lost 52,200 jobs, according to data released Friday by the California Employment Development Department.
Locally, the unemployment rate in Santa Barbara County jumped to 7.6% in December, up from 5.8% in November. The December 2020 unemployment rate was down from an unadjusted unemployment rate of 8.8% for California and 6.5% for the nation during the same time period, according to the EDD Labor Market Information Division.
Santa Barbara County’s unemployment rate, which trended below 6% from December 2018 to February 2020, spiked to nearly 14% in April of 2020. The unemployment rate had been steadily declining over the past seven months, but was up slightly last month.
Santa Barbara County has a labor force of 211,500, with 195,500 people employed and 16,100 unemployed.
Compared to other local counties, Ventura County has an unemployment rate of 7.5% for December, while San Luis Obispo County has an unemployment rate of 6.7%.
In total, Santa Barbara County lost an estimated 5,700 jobs from November to December. This includes a loss of an estimated 4,600 farm jobs and 1,100 nonfarm jobs.
The county’s labor force fell by 1,700 (down 0.8%) from November. Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector saw the largest employment decline over the month, falling by 1,700, a 7.2% decrease, as noted by Dr. Peter Rupert, executive director of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project.
Month-over job losses were also noted in the government sector (down 300 jobs) and other services (down 100 jobs).
The county’s trade, transportation and utilities sector added 400 jobs from November to December. Some 200 jobs were added to both the professional and business services and manufacturing sectors, with 100 jobs added to both construction and educational and health and services, according to the data, which is not adjusted for seasonality.
Broken down further, accommodation jobs were down nearly 37.5% from a year ago, arts, entertainment and recreation jobs are down 28,.9%, state government jobs are down 22.7%, and clothing and accessories store jobs are down 23.8% over the past year.
The data released Friday by the EDD was based on two surveys. The numbers come after November’s revised gain of 5,200 jobs, and the state has now regained more than 44% of the more than 2.6 million nonfarm jobs that were lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April.
California’s month-over unemployment rate increase from 8.1% in November to 9% in December marked the state’s first month-over rate increase since April 2020.
Six of the state’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs last month. Construction had the state’s largest month-over increase, of 31,600, due to strong gains in the speciality trade contractors and construction of buildings. Professional and business services had the state’s second-largest month-over increase, of 29,600, due to large gains in accounting, tax preparation and bookkeeping, as well as management, scientific and technical consulting.
Leisure and hospitality suffered the largest month-over loss, down 117,000, in large part due to severe losses in accommodation and food services, which accounted for 83.2% of the industry sector’s overall loss.
Following a survey of approximately 80,000 businesses, total nonfarm jobs in 11 of the state’s major industries totaled 16,144,400 in December, a net loss of 52,000 jobs from November. This followed an upward-revision of 5,200 jobs for a revised gain of 62,300 jobs in November.
Total nonfarm jobs decreased by 1,410,000 (down 8%) from December 2019 to 2020 compared to the U.S. annual loss of 9,374,000 jobs (a 6.2% decrease), officials said.
The number of employed Californians in December was 17,260,100, a decrease of more than 91,000 jobs since November, and down nearly 1.5 million jobs from December of last year.
The number of unemployed Californians was 1,700,400 in December, an increase of 163,700 over the month, and up by 945,700 in comparison to December of last year, according to the data.
More than 1 million people certified for unemployment insurance benefits during the December sample week. This compares to nearly 1.3 million people in November 2020 and more than 327,750 people in December 2019. Nearly 160,000 initial claims were processed during the December sample week, which was a month-over decrease of 9,896 claims from November 2020, but a year-over increase of 108,976 claims in December 2019.
Data for January 2021 will be released on March 12. For more information on Santa Barbara County and state unemployment figures, visit www.edd.ca.gov.