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California unemployment for July 2009: UP to 11.9%

One of the pieces of BAD news from last week was the increase in unemployment in California from 11.6% in June to 11.9% in July. The bad news should be TEMPERED with the fact that unemployment is a “trailing economic indicator” (unemployment can still be getting worse while other things are getting BETTER). The U.S. unemployment rate FELL in July, to 9.4%. “Consumer confidence” is growing by leaps and bounds and “exceeds the expectations” (I try not to use “business speak” too often :-) ) of economists!

Another consideration is that business management is REQUIRED to focus on short-term profits and benefitting stockholders, and sometimes this means layoffs (although SOME companies consider layoffs a “last resort” and some, a “first resort”). Most business managers are not “slow-witted” (although some CLEARLY are! :-) ), but they are often “linear thinkers,” which can make their thought processes SEEM slow to those of us who are NOT linear thinkers. We all THINK DIFFERENT(ly). :-) Business management will EVENTUALLY :-) realize that the economy has turned a corner and IS improving (the smart ones will realize this SOONER – work for THEM!), and the job cuts will stop.

Nonfarm jobs in California totaled 14,249,600 in July 2009, down 35,800 over the month. The year-over-year change from July 2008 to July 2009 was a decrease of 760,200 jobs, down 5.1%. The above figures were determined from a survey of employers. The federal survey of households (which was done with a smaller sample) estimates that the number of Californians with jobs in July was 16,260,000, down 87,000 from June and down 798,000 from July of last year. Unemployment in July 2009 was 2,187,000, up by 33,000 over the month and up by 840,000 as compared with July 2008.

But, woooooooo hooooooooo…! As opposed to June, in which California LOST jobs in 11 categories listed, employment was UP SLIGHTLY (up 2900 jobs) in two categories: “professional and business services,” and “leisure and hospitality.” Eight job categories posted declines in employment over the month of July. The largest decline was in “trade, transporation, and utilities” (down 15,900 jobs over the month). “Natural resources and mining” reported no change.

EDD (the Employment Development Department) reported 812,165 people who received regular unemployment insurance benefits during the survey week in July, as compared with 820,387 in June and 480,226 in July of 2008. New claims for unemployment were 80,048 in July 2009, as compared with 86,016 in June and 58,131 in July 2008.

The report has tables detailed statistics. There were 14 California counties with greater-than-or-equal-to 15% unemployment, with Imperial County reporting 30.2% unemployment!

My own personal belief, and I am not an economist (thank God! :-) ) is that the California economy bottomed out in March 2009, and we are seeing lagging layoffs now, since the economy cannot “turn on a dime.” I hope that I am correct.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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