Ventura County Star – Ventura County employers add 3,300 jobs in March
By Stephanie Hoops
Payrolls increased in Ventura County and the unemployment rate held steady at 9.6 percent in March, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.
An estimated 3,300 jobs were added last month, and 1,100 were in the nonfarm sector, with professional and business services leading the way. Also, the February employment estimate was revised upward by 800 positions.
Ventura County now has seen six straight months with a jobless rate anchored below 10 percent.
The numbers indicate the county’s economy continues to make slow but steady improvement.
Mark Schniepp, director of the California Economic Forecast in Santa Barbara, called the report “encouraging.”
“We expect to continue to see a slowly healing labor market for the rest of the year,” he said.
Business is picking up for companies like Meathead Movers, which plans to add 125 jobs this year at locations in Camarillo, San Luis Obispo and Orange County. The small business has seen an uptick in clients moving for positive, not negative, reasons.
“We’ve noticed our clients becoming less price-sensitive,” said CEO and co-founder Aaron Steed.
Over the last 12 months, the number of employed residents in Ventura County increased by 5,100 and the number of unemployed residents decreased by 3,700.
California Lutheran University economist Bill Watkins recently said if the economy picks up and unemployed workers gain optimism, they might resume looking for work, and then the jobless rate could rise. In fact, the number of county residents actively searching for work increased by an estimated 500 last month.
Bruce Stenslie, president and CEO of the Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura County, was pleased with what he saw.
“More people actively engaged in the labor market is a good thing,” he said, “indicating perhaps people’s perception that opportunity for work is out there.”
Statewide, employers added 18,200 jobs during the month. The state unemployment rate rose 0.1 percent to 11 percent.
The U.S. unemployment rate decreased in March to 8.2 percent.