Fresno County's unemployment rate climbed in November to 12.1% as a gain in health and teaching jobs failed to offset losses in agriculture, trade, government and construction, the state Employment Development Department reported today.Freno RV dealer throws in the towel:
The jobless rate increased from 11.3% in October and 8.9% in November 2007. Officials noted that agriculture lost 4,500 jobs between October and November, and construction employment declined by 1,300 jobs in the year-over-year period. government also lost 1,000 jobs in that period.
RV king Dan Gamel, struggling with a lousy economy, closed all but one of his dealerships Friday and laid off 150 employees for three months while he sells motor coaches online and by appointment.
The Camp America store on Shaw Avenue and dealerships on Highway 99 in south Fresno, in Modesto and in Rocklin are closing until spring, Gamel said. The Redding outlet is staying open because the store is profitable, he said.
All the real estate -- totaling 85 acres with much of it on prime frontage -- is for sale.
"It doesn't make sense to be in business the way we are in this economy," Gamel said. "I thought we could make it and hang on, but every month brought a
more dire situation."
Gottschalks Inc. announced this afternoon that it remains in negotiations with a Chinese company to keep the Fresno-based department store chain afloat.
Earlier this week, Everbright Development Overseas Ltd. terminated a deal it had reached in November to provide a $30 million investment in Gottschalks in exchange for a majority stake in the 104-year-old company. In a filing Thursday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Gottschalks officials reported that Everbright had terminated the agreement following a due-diligence period that expired Monday.
Retail industry analysts say the cancellation of the November deal is an ominous sign for Gottschalks unless another arrangement can be made very quickly.