Friday, August 15, 2008

California's unemployment rate at a 12 year high

As expected...California's unemployment rate just hit a 12 year high.

From the La

California's unemployment rate in July rose to 7.3%, its highest level in 12 years as many areas of the economy shed jobs.

The state's nonfarm payroll shrunk by 14,900 jobs last month, the California Employment Development Department reported today. The unemployment rate increased by three-tenths of a percentage point from a revised 7% for June and now stands almost two full percentages points higher than the 5.4% it was at a year ago.

The unemployment rate was worse in the Inland Empire, rising to 8.9% in July from a revised 8.1% in June. Orange County fared better, with the unemployment rate reaching 5.7% in July from a revised 5.3% the previous month.

Since July 2007, California has lost a total of payroll 75,900 jobs -- down to 15.1 million.

The steadily worsening unemployment is evidence that California's economic weakness is spreading from the hard-hit construction, real estate and financial sectors to other once-healthy fields, said Howard Roth, chief economist for the state Department of Finance."

The state's economy continues to sputter, and it looks like the job losses are getting distributed to manufacturing and retail," Roth said. "It's not just housing but it's also high energy and food prices that are squeezing consumers."

The combination of a rising unemployment rate plus soaring inflation - the so-called Misery Index - is making life painful for even working Californians, said Stephen Levy, chief economist and executive director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto.

The index topped 12% in July, its highest point in 15 years, Levy said

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