Saturday, February 28, 2009
During the month of January, the unemployment rate in California surpassed the 10 percent mark for the first time in 26 years. This report in the LA Times has the details.
Job losses in January escalated across all industries -- including, notably, motion picture and sound recording -- with the state's unemployment rate jumping 1.4 percentage points from a revised 8.7% for December.That's a pretty remarkable increase - from five percent unemployment to ten percent unemployment in the span of just twelve months.
Unfortunately, California still is falling into what appears to be a crippling downturn, said Howard Roth, chief economist at the state Department of Finance.
"There's very little demand out there," he said. "Certainly consumers are depressed, and businesses aren't going to buy as long as consumers aren't buying."
The stagnation was even more pervasive in Los Angeles County, where unemployment rose from 9.2% in December to 10.5%, almost twice the rate recorded in January 2008.
A handful of former co-workers sent emails in my direction last week, about half of them were laid off recently.
No one is safe, said Esther Surjanto, who last month lost her job as an order clerk at a Los Angeles garment plant.The only good news they were able to muster on the news last night was that the unemployment offices are so swamped with business that they're hiring.
"We have no time to pity party," she said. "Even the big, dream companies where you'd like to work are laying people off."
"California is hemorrhaging faster than the U.S. economy," said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at Cal State Channel Islands. California consistently has ranked among a handful of states with the country's highest unemployment.
The jobs picture here is likely to keep deteriorating because the state no longer can assume that education and health services will generate new jobs, Sohn warned. "Given the budget crisis we're having, I don't think we can count on government to prop up the economy either,"