Unemployment crept up a bit in June over the May rate in Santa Barbara County, as it did for the state as a whole as well as nationwide, with Santa Maria recording the highest rate in the county, according to preliminary figures released last week by the California Labor Market Information Division.

The county’s rate was 2.8%, up from May’s revised rate of 2.4% but still far lower than the 6.2% reported in June 2021, based on the statistics provided by the Santa Barbara County Workforce Development Board.

That’s also lower than California’s rate of 4%, which was up from the revised May rate of 3.5%, and the national rate of 3.8%, which was an increase from the 3.4% reported in the revised May statistics.

Santa Maria again had the highest unemployment rate among the county’s eight cities at 3.7%, followed closely by Lompoc with 3.5%. Next closest was Carpinteria at 1.9%.

Buellton also repeated as the city with the lowest rate at 0.5%, with neighboring Solvang reporting a rate of 1.8%. Guadalupe’s rate was 1.6%.

As expected, the greatest one-month increase in jobs was in the farm sector, which picked up 1,100 jobs, due to the seasonal aspect of agriculture. But the farm sector also added 300 jobs from June last year.

The education and health services sector lost the most employees since May, dropping 100 jobs in June, but it added 700 jobs from a year ago.

Overall, the county added 2,300 jobs in June over the May figures and 8,700 jobs from the same period last year, according to the Workforce Development Board figures.

Leisure and hospitality continued to bounce back from the jobs lost when travel was restricted during the pandemic by adding 400 jobs since May and 3,000 jobs since June 2021.

That was followed by the government section, which added 300 jobs since May and 2,400 jobs since last year, and professional and business services, which remained unchanged from May but had a one-year increase of 1,000 jobs.

Santa Barbara County had a labor force of 224,400 in June, with 218,000 of those workers employed and 6,300 unemployed but willing to work.

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