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California’s unemployment at 11.2% in March

In an Employment Development Department (EDD) news release dated yesterday, April 17, 2009, California’s unemployment during March 2009 was given as 11.2%, and nonfarm payroll jobs declined by 62,100 during March. U.S. unemployment also increased to 8.5% during March. Unemployment in March 2008 was 6.4% in California.

The February 2009 unemployment in California was revised upward slightly, to 10.6%.

EDD has Unemployment Insurance telephones lines open from 10 AM to 2 PM on Saturdays to help cope with the increases in unemployment. EDD offices also have expedited phone lines available internally at the offices, to assist with applications. EDD staff can also help to expedite requests. The news release above encourages online application whenever possible.

The EDD report lists detailed information on unemployment in California, including numbers and percentages for individual counties. Some California counties, as you might imagine, have unemployment IN EXCESS OF 20%, including: Colusa (25.6%), Imperial (25.1%), Merced (20.4%), Plumas (20.1%), and Trinity (21.9%).

(Note added April 19, 2009: Given that the figures above do not include “people marginally attached to the workforce” [those who have given up searching for employment or people who who have accepted part-time work but want full-time work] and seasonal and farm workers [of which there are MANY in California’s Central Valley], I can easily understand unemployment rates of 40% that have been mentioned on TV news for some Central Valley locations. The unemployment rate is 41.6% in the town of Mendota.)

This online article written by an AP writer states that the 11.2% unemployment rate in California in March is “the highest rate in modern records” and that U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (see here for even more demographic detail) said that only three states had higher unemployment than California in March: Michigan (12.6%), Oregon (12.1%), and South Carolina (11.4%). I added the actual percentages for March 2009 unemployment for these three states from the map of state, county and metropolitan area unemployment here.

One thing that all of the statistics does not address is the only factor that will pull us out of the current economic disaster – HOPE. Optimism that the economy has “turned a corner” is starting to appear in the business communities, and even though former U.S. Fedeeral Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker stated that the recovery will be a “long slog,” most economists believe that the economy reached its lowest point in the fourth quarter of 2008, or in the just-ended first quarter of 2009. Remember that “unemployment is a trailing indicator” appearing AFTER other indicators of economic recession have occurred, and that unemployment can still increase after the beginning of an economic recovery.

Hang in there, and where possible, help each other. There are not too many Americans who have been unaffected by the recession, but it has been MUCH worse for some than for others. Also remember that this recession has been GLOBAL in scope. I am confident that our collective hope and optimism will have an effect upon both the recovery itself and upon the RATE of that recovery.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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