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Santa Barbara and SLO counties see first unemployment rate increases of 2022

Unemployment Benefits
Posted at 5:16 PM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 22:20:18-04

After being on a downward trend for nearly half a year, the unemployment rates for Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties saw their first increases last month.

In Santa Barbara County, the unemployment rate in June was 2.8%, up from 2.4% in May. In San Luis Obispo County, it was 2.6%, up from 2.1% in May.

"Our goal is to get people out there in the workforce," said Melissa Enriquez, an outreach specialist recruiter at the Center for Employee Training in Santa Maria.

She says as the unemployment rate in Santa Barbara County rose this past June, her team has also seen a decrease in people enrolling in their job prep trade school.

"Honestly, I have got to say it is the pandemic. It has brought a lot of people confused on what it is really like out there," Enriquez told KSBY.

Enriquez says she frequently stops by the Workforce Resource Center in Santa Maria in hopes of encouraging locals on unemployment to consider taking up a trade — an effort she says has so far come with little success.

"It is really confusing to me because there is a lot of opportunity out there, and there is just no bites," Enriquez continued.

"I came in here looking for a job because I'm able-bodied, I'm strong, I'm only 48," said Marcus Housewright, who is currently unemployed. "I told them I really don't want the unemployment though they are in aid to get it for me."

Housewright says he has been job searching this past month, using the resources available to find his next place of unemployment.

"Going on these websites, Indeed, the Workforce Center, there is a lot of people in Santa Maria hiring so if you are not working in this town, you are lazy," Housewright added.

Enriquez says the recent upward trend in unemployment may have to do with people thinking they are not qualified enough for certain jobs, which is where her team's services come in to assist.

"I know it is a bit hard out there because of everything that is going on, especially in the workforce, and not having the proper training, not having the right certifications, etc. That is our job here at CET to get you set on the right foot and to also find a fit for you," she said.

A consultant with California's Labor Market Division told KSBY that even though the county saw its unemployment rate grow last month, the current rate has not drifted far from their expectations as more seasonal jobs like education take a natural dip during the summer.