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California still losing jobs, but unemployment rate drops slightly

Posted at 2:35 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 17:35:57-05

California lost close to 70,000 jobs in January. But new numbers released Friday by the state's Employment Development Department show the unemployment rate declined slightly, to 9% from 9.3% in December.

That's mostly because the state's labor force continues to shrink as more people stop looking for work.

The biggest losses were for restaurants and hotels that have been the hit hardest by public health orders.

However, the numbers released Friday were based on surveys taken the week of Jan. 12. The number of new COVID-19 cases has declined since then and the state is beginning to lift restrictions.

That could improve the jobs numbers.

San Luis Obispo County's unemployment rate remained unchanged in January at 6.7 percent. That's double the unemployment rate in January 2020, which was 3.2%.

Santa Barbara County's unemployment rate rose slightly from 7.3 percent in December to 7.7 percent in January. In January 2020, the unemployment rate was 4.6%.