Ventura County’s labor market faces several challenges, including a declining population, net out-migration, and a restrictive impediment to new growth represented by SOAR. Although the unemployment rate is low, unfilled job openings remain high, and job growth is lagging compared to neighboring areas. The labor force is also a limiting factor to job creation for many sectors, and the pandemic has only added to these challenges.
The State of the Labor Market in Ventura County: Opportunities and Challenges
Ventura County’s Low Unemployment Rate but High Job Openings: What You Need to Know
Ventura County is a great place for job seekers with a low unemployment rate of 4.2%, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges in the labor market. One of the biggest challenges is the high number of unfilled job openings despite the low unemployment rate. This is due to slow labor force growth and a decline in population, which has led to a rise in net out-migration.
Challenges to Job Growth
Ventura County is struggling to keep up with job growth in neighboring areas due to a lack of new business formation and organic business expansion. One of the main reasons for this is the restrictive impediment to new growth represented by SOAR. This limits residential and non-residential expansion opportunities, hindering the creation of new jobs.
Slow Job Creation in the Tech Industry
While tech industries have rebounded in most coastal counties, Ventura County’s job creation has been slow. The restoration of tech jobs has been underwhelming, with only 200 more jobs in this sector relative to pre-pandemic levels. This is a major obstacle to job growth in the region.
The Impact of the Pandemic
The Ventura County labor market is still struggling to recover from the pandemic, with a contraction in the labor force that has yet to recover. While there were more tangible signs of the labor force returning a year ago, that surge was short-lived, and the county is still thousands of workers short of the pre-pandemic labor force. Additionally, the population of Ventura County has been in decline since 2017, as families have left the county for jobs or more affordable housing elsewhere.
Although Ventura County faces many obstacles in its labor market, it remains an excellent place to find a job with many opportunities available for job seekers. As the labor force recovers and businesses adapt to new conditions, we expect continued growth and development in the Ventura County labor market. While a full recovery is not expected until the end of the year, we remain optimistic that the region will continue to thrive.
Read the Full 2023 Ventura County Economic Outlook Report