Santa Barbara County unemployment rates remained stagnant throughout March, the Workforce Investment Board reported this week.

County joblessness remained at 9.6 percent, with about 21,000 people still unemployed out of an estimated 218,100 person labor force. The largest job growth was seen in industries related to leisure, hospitality, business and professional services, while careers in government and trade, transportation and utilities suffered the greatest decline.

“Population growth in the surrounding areas has grown very sparsely, with technological improvements improving jobs that were once occupied by people,” 4th District Supervisor Joni Gray said. “The Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce is looking into options to promote job growth in various sectors including tourism and the wine market.”

First-year music major at Santa Barbara City College Marko Marrero said high demand for minimum-requirement employment affects students the most.

“Jobs are scarce and hard to come by as a teenager,” Marrero said. “It has forced a competitive job market for students especially with all the retail and general stores closing, kids like me cannot get any work. I have applied to tons of places in Lompoc and not received any calls back. Even some of the places I have applied to have closed down recently.”

The UCSB Human Resources Dept. website offers instructions and job opportunities for students. According to HR Office Manager Liz Molina, the university offers rewarding careers and internships.

“Services and paid internships are options for students, who have better options than non-students for getting jobs,” Molina said. “Though the pay may not be exactly the same as someone working off-campus, there is no doubt that there are opportunities for students looking for work.”

Molina said the department offers tuition reduction incentives to student applicants.

“There are a lot of resources.” Molina said. “Students can apply for regular staff positions, and once you pass your probationary period you qualify for reduced fee enrollment where you pay a 2/3 reduction of university registration and education fees.”