H-CENTRAL COAST

Apr 1, 2011 10:05 PM by Ariel Wesler

Local economy shows steady improvement

Good news for the nation's economy. The unemployment rate in the U.S. has reached a two year low.

The latest numbers show unemployment in the u-s dropped to 8.8 percent in March, but in California, the rate is more than 12 percent. Locally, unemployment in San Luis Obispo County is a little under 10 percent. In Santa Barbara County, the jobless rate sits 9.6 percent.

These are some of the faces behind the unemployment numbers. At the Workforce Resource Center in Santa Maria, job seekers are seeing signs of improvement.

"I'm actually seeing a reduction in the people coming in here, which means people are finding jobs," said Ed Kie, who's unemployed.

"I've seen more posting on their bulletin boards and a lot more job offers on the internet," said Carlos Soto-Gomez of Santa Maria.

But you still have put in the time. Soto-Gomez says he spends at least three days a week at the resource center working on resumes, cover letters, and looking for job openings. He used to work in the food service industry and has been searching for a job since February. He sees it as an adventure.

"It kind of sets you back like in high school, like what do you want to do now," Soto-Gomez said.

In Santa Maria, the chamber of commerce says industry and manufacturing is leading the recovery.

"When we did our survey, that's the sector that showed the most optimism, and it showed that many of them are looking to hire," said Dave Cross, Director of the Economic Development Commission.

While construction still struggles, shoppers are doing their part.

"Retail sales tax was up over 7 percent in Santa Maria, which is a very good sign," Cross said.

If you're unemployed, Soto-Gomez suggests keeping your options open. You could come out of this recession with unexpected opportunities.

"It could probably be a humble job, but that humble job might be rewarding itself," he said.

The latest report from the state shows there are still about 34,000 people unemployed on Central Coast.

For more information on job opportunities,

Click here for Santa Barbara County.

Click here for San Luis Obispo County.

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