July Employment Numbers Reveal Strong Summer Trend

by Brian Thomas | Aug 23, 2015

This month’s data release from the California Employment Development Department, which reveals the July employment numbers, shows continued strong improvement in labor markets over this summer through most of Santa Barbara.  Since May, Santa Barbara County has gained 1,492 jobs (seasonally adjusted), a gain of 0.7% over two months.  Furthermore, the unemployment rate fell for the third consecutive month, remaining under 5.0%. 


Employment over the summer months has been strong according to the EFP's seasonally adjusted data, shown in the table below. This strength, however, would be difficult to detect using the seasonally unadjusted data reported by the Employment Development Department--their latest press release shows a decline in July employment. However, raw employment drops every year in July.  After removing this seasonal component from the new July data, employment actually increased because it declined less than is typical.  If the goal is to understand how many people are employed in July in Santa Barbara County, there is no need to seasonally adjust, but if the goal is to understand current economic trends, seasonally adjusting is essential.  


These strong employment gains have occurred throughout most Santa Barbara County industries.  The only industry with a large decline in July was retail trade, which merely offset part of retail trade's large gains seen in June.  Even with the nearly 2% decline in July, retail trade has increased employment since April by 313 jobs or an increase of 1.6%.  The leisure & hospitality industry followed up its strong June performance with a July employment growth of 2%, making leisure & hospitality now the fastest growing industry by employment in the last year.  Employment changes for the other 2-digit NAICS industries are described in the table below. 



Across cities, all south county cities have continued to see employment gains over the last month.  In the north county, employment grew in Santa Maria and Lompoc while declining in Buellton, Guadalupe and Solvang.  Unemployment rates across the county increased slightly in July, likely because of increased numbers of workers searching for jobs in the summer months, but unemployment rates are still down over the past year in every single sub-county place.