Mar 21, 2009

California Unemployment Rate Reaches 10.5%

According to data released yesterday by California's Employment Development Department (EDD), 10.5% of Californians are unemployed -- which means able to work, available to work, looking for work, and not working at all. Behind the percentage points are almost two million people out of work, and fewer than half of those are currently collecting unemployment benefits. Over the past year, California's construction industry has seen the largest percentage of job losses, while employment in the fields of education and health services has actually grown a bit.

The numbers are echoed by recent figures on mass layoffs compiled by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which show that California had the largest number of new claims for unemployment as a result of mass layoffs, in which at least 50 employees lose their jobs. In fact, California lost more than twice as many jobs in mass layoffs than any other state. And none of these numbers include those sometimes referred to as "underemployed," such as those who have taken part-time positions because they can't find a full-time job, those who have accepted a job that pays much less than a previous position, and those who are still working but have experienced hour or wage cuts.

For those of us who still have jobs and are wondering how we can help friends, relatives, and colleagues who haven't been so lucky, the New York Times published a great article by Ron Lieber today, called "Not Laid Off? How to Aid the Less Fortunate".