Friday, April 18, 2008

Being a Californian this bothers me - UNEMPLOYMENT

especially with the mayor and our council people approving hikes for LADWP (on top of all the surcharges LADWP tack on each month anyway). I'm glad the LA Times is covering it, the full article is on their page:

By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
12:22 PM PDT, April 18, 2008
SACRAMENTO -- California's unemployment rate rose by a whopping half a percentage point in March, reaching 6.2% as a weakening economy shed jobs in the ailing construction and financial activities sectors. In all, 1.13 million were unemployed.

The Economic Development Department reported that March's unemployment was the highest since July 2004, when the rate was also 6.2%.

Unemployment is up 1.2% from a year ago, with 229,000 more Californians looking for work.

Although total nonfarm jobs increased by 1,000 compared to February, the number of unemployed people rose by 84,000 last month, the state said.

"This is a huge increase," said Howard Roth, chief economist for the state Department of Finance. He blamed the steady rise in joblessness -- up from 5.0% in March 2007 -- on deterioration of the crucial housing market. "The bubble has a slow leak, so it's hard to tell how long it will take" to fully deflate, he said.

The rise in unemployment during March affected all of Southern California, with the worst effects in the Inland Empire. The rate in Riverside County -- not seasonally adjusted -- rose to 7.4% from 7.0%, while in San Bernardino County it rose to 6.7% from 6.3%.

Unemployment in Los Angeles County hit 5.8%, up three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month.

The uptick in people losing their jobs "means more bad news ahead for state and local [government] budgets," said Stephen Levy, director and chief economist of the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto.

Next month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers must grapple with plunging tax revenue and a projected $8-billion-plus budget deficit as they prepare the state's spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1.