As the pandemic slowly subsides and the economy reopens, some industries in Santa Barbara County are still suffering job losses, while others have found jobs that exceed their pre-pandemic levels, according to a report to the Board of Supervisors this week.
The statistics were included in a report on the Workforce Development Board’s mission, funding, and efforts to help workers and businesses recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employment has also become a market for job seekers, as people leaving the workforce are also leaving companies scrambling to fill positions, according to the report by Ray McDonald, executive director of the Santa County Workforce Development Board. Barbara.
Companies that suffer for workers offer bonuses and other incentives to acquire employees, while job seekers pay more attention to their work-life balance and, at the same time, seek the best deals, said McDonald.
âWhat is happening is a lot of people are making adjustments in their lives,â McDonald said. âWomen are not coming back as they were before the pandemic. â¦ What we also know is that people are very picky.
The business sector employment statistics provided by McDonald’s were from January 2019 to July 2021, as data for August and September has yet to be compiled and analyzed.
But records for overall unemployment and labor market participation date back to January 2016, while consumer spending figures begin in January 2020.
Still, they offer a good overview of how the county’s economy is performing compared to that of the state as a whole.
McDonald’s said the overall unemployment rate fell to 5.8% in July, and recently released figures for August show a rate of 5.5%, roughly the same as in January 2016.
âSo the number is going down,â McDonald said, pointing out that it is significantly lower than the 15% peak at the height of the pandemic in April 2020.
The labor force participation rate – that is, the percentage of the working-age population actually in the labor force – is the highest since January 2016 at 62%, but McDonald noted that it has many more peaks and valleys than the state rate, which he attributes to the large number of people retiring to the county.
4th District Board Chair and Supervisor Bob Nelson noted that the valleys fall from November to January each year.
âWe are a farming community,â he noted.
Describing the impact of the pandemic on various industries, McDonald’s said employment was down 1.9% for commerce, transportation and utilities and down 6.3% for manufacturing. , although construction employment is up about 1.1%.
For reference, McDonald’s also included oil and offshore drilling, where employment is down 36.4% from March 2019, but said employment in this sector was dropping significantly even before the pandemic.
Employment in education and health services was up 1.1%, but in financial activities, it was down 3%. Information technology employment is back to its pre-pandemic level “because they can do this job from anywhere,” McDonald said.
Leisure and hospitality have been hit hard during the pandemic, with more than 45% of jobs lost at the peak, and employment is still 14.3% below pre-pandemic levels.
But the government, which McDonald says also includes educational institutions, has also not done well, with employment gradually falling to 22% from before the pandemic.
On the bright side, employment in professional and business services is up 24.1%, which McDonald says is due to the growing use of delivery services by consumers confined to their homes.
Another encouraging note is that consumer spending in the county has rebounded to a higher level than it was before the pandemic.
In April 2020, spending fell almost 40% from the average for the previous three months, but it has now climbed 7.5% above that average.
Photos: Monday protest against COVID-19 vaccination warrants in Santa Maria