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  • Workforce Wednesday: Labor Market Information with Andriy Moskalyk

    As we introduced in the last issue, labor market consultant, Andriy Moskalyk will be providing a monthly article on Labor Market Information (LMI). LMI is available at https://www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/ This month's topic is on unemployment. 

    The Employment Development Department releases important labor market indicators each month. Among those indicators are estimates of the civilian labor force, including unemployment rates, and industry employment throughout the state. The unemployment rate tends to get the most attention and is considered to be a rough indicator of the overall labor market condition. 

    In order to calculate the unemployment rate, we need the following components: an estimate of the number of employed and unemployed persons within a given area of interest (for example, county). The sum of these two components comprises the labor force. The unemployment rate, then, is the number of unemployed as a percentage of the total labor force. The most commonly reported measure of unemployment, the U3 measure, includes those who are: 1) in the labor force, 2) not working, 3) available to work, and 4) were actively looking for work during the past four weeks.

    It is worth mentioning that not everyone in the population will be included in the above calculation. Persons who are neither employed nor unemployed (for example, retirees), under 16 years of age, currently on active military duty, or are residents of institutions (for example, prisons) are excluded.

    The most recent unemployment rate estimate for Santa Barbara County was December 2018 at 4.0%, an increase of 0.6% since November 2018. Though increasing unemployment is sometimes cause for alarm, in this case it is a normal seasonal fluctuation. On average during the past 10 years, the unemployment rate has increased by 0.4% between November and December. Importantly, on an annual average basis, the unemployment rate has seen a consistent decline during the last seven consecutive years, declining by about 5.2% between 2010 and 2017.

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