California Joblessness Reaches 70-Year High

LOS ANGELES — California’s unemployment rate in August hit its highest point in nearly 70 years, starkly underscoring how the nation’s incipient economic recovery continues to elude millions of Americans looking for work.

While job losses continue to fall, the state’s new unemployment rate — 12.2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics— is far above the national average of 9.7 percent and places California, the nation’s most-populous state, fourth behind Michigan, Nevada and Rhode Island. Statistics kept by the state show California’s unemployment rate was 14.7 percent in 1940, said Kevin Callori, a spokesman for the California Employment Development Department.While California has convulsed under the same blows as the rest of the country over the last two years, its exposure to both the foreclosure crisis and the slowdown in construction — an industry that has fueled growth in much of the state over the last decade — has been outsized.

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15 Responses to “California Joblessness Reaches 70-Year High”


  1. 1 Rene Martinez September 21, 2009 at 11:55 AM

    This is beyond unreal. My dad almost had a heart attack and I am, well, honestly not surprised by this. I want to say this is a good thing since Obama said in order for things to get better, they have to get worse. Well hopefully this is the worse it will get. But at the same time… this sucks!

  2. 2 Amanda Herrera September 23, 2009 at 6:37 PM

    It is sad to read about people loosing their jobs in this time of recession and is even worse when you actually see (in numbers) the drastic increase of California’s unemployment rate. It must be extremely difficult for recent graduates of colleges or universities. I hope by the time I finish college the odds of me becoming unemployed are really low. Furthermore, imagine families whose father’s or mother’s got laid off. That must be extremely painful for them since they have other people to feed and care for besides themselves. Therefore, in this time of recession it is best to help any way you can even if it might be very slim to none.

  3. 3 Cole Norton September 23, 2009 at 8:45 PM

    The unemployment rate in California is nearly 4 percent above the rest of the country. While this does not seem like a big percentage, considering the amount of people California has, it is an overwhelming number. California will have to make huge strides to try and bring the unemployment rate down to a reasonable number. This will require a lot of work over the next few years. Part of the problem, I believe, are the outrageous prices to live and own a home here. The mortgages homeowners have to put on a house here requires a small fortune of savings for the monthly bill, not to mention the lease payments. It is no wonder that many people have to foreclose on homes. If this is going to get better, prices of houses should be cut, to make living affordable and manageable, which would help people keep steady jobs because they would have a little extra money every month.

  4. 4 Halona Hong Truong September 24, 2009 at 9:09 AM

    In for a penny, in for a pound…let California borrow MORE $ to keep up entitlements & encourage more illegal aliens, so they can jack up taxes some more, and create the perfect socialist state. But when more small bussiness fails or flees because of the tax climate, ALL will be worse off then before any entitlements.

    Socialism/communism are failed systems that can’t be maintained. The free-market’s been proven to lift up a vast number more of people.

  5. 5 Zach September 24, 2009 at 4:39 PM

    The main reason that socialism/communism has never succeeded is due to the fact that there has never been a pure communist government. Most “communist” governments in the world today are dictatorships pretending to be socialist in order to placate their citizens and they usually don’t fool anyone.

  6. 6 Tiffany Molinar September 26, 2009 at 10:12 AM

    It’s pretty unbelievable that California is in fourth place for the highest unemployment rate. That’s just depressing; our unemployment rate is at 12.2% when in 1940 it was 14.7%, and that was right after the Great Depression. What do we have to look forward to? It’s going to get worse before it gets better, and I don’t feel like anything is changing. It’s like a snowball effect, and everything is going downhill. I’m worried for what the future holds, but I know that when it does get worse, it’s going to be bad for everyone, and I know that I am not in the worse place I could be. It’s frustrating to know that there isn’t really anything we can do about this, but just wait and hope it all will get better soon.

  7. 7 Maria Rogan September 28, 2009 at 7:25 PM

    It sucks that more people are losing jobs. It’s not surprising that most of the jobs that people are losing are involved in construction and real estate. Because so many people are losing jobs they aren’t buying houses. California needs to step up their game and bring the unemployment rates back down. There isn’t much to do about the problem except to hope that things will get better. Because people are losing jobs and trying to get the governments help, it is not making the situation any better. The way I see it, we need a miracle.

  8. 8 D. Colin Sorenson September 29, 2009 at 7:33 AM

    I think it will pass the 14.7% landmark. There really has been nothing to give me hope of this number changing for the good. I consider my self lucky to have a Full-Time job and it’s sad to see others without a job with families to support. But, Obama has done nothing. It’s been the same since Bush was the POTUS. I wish that change that Obama was talking about is coming soon. Or else it’s going to be a bumpy ride down.

  9. 9 Margaret Garbo October 4, 2009 at 3:14 PM

    Its depressing to actually see the numbers going down due to the economic recession. This reminds me of how in the Philippines, there are many people trying to survive not only for themselves but as well as the family that they have to fend for. Many of them, due to overpopulation in the tiny city of Manila are left on the streets instead due to unemployment, lack of education and poverty.
    It is sad to see in the United States, a decline in the amount of jobs is apparent. To think that the “richest” country in the world has to leave families unemployed. With the election of a new president, everyone has been waiting, hoping that the promised change will come because if it doesn’t, it might be all downhill from here. Hopefully it does.

  10. 10 Mike Beretta October 6, 2009 at 2:51 PM

    While California is one of the highest in unemployment, again I am not surprised. California placed way too much on construction and real estate values with no employment opportunities to back it up. Many of the employers moved out of state years ago and the employees didn’t go with them. I think people were always sure they could find a job at equal or better pay than what they had before. The entire state can’t just drop prices on everything because of what people originally put into their homes and businesses. They stand to lose too much. Some people have already lost their homes and others are forced to do without in some other part of their lives like food, utilities, or medical insurance. Everyone thought there would be a turn around with the election, but it might be a very long time before anything happens, forcing people to move out in order to survive.

  11. 11 Alanna Heaney October 13, 2009 at 6:57 PM

    i cant believe california is ranked number 4 with unemployment. im really lucky to have a job because alot of people are out there are stuck because they dont have a job. and the construction part, im glad it is not affecting my family because my dad has been in construction for almost 30 years and he tells me himself that he is lucky that they even still have work. but in order for things to get better things do need to get worse. so maybe something good will come out of all of this. lets hope.

  12. 12 Kathryn Koller November 27, 2009 at 5:12 PM

    It’s just ridiculous how high unemployment is. where are all the jobs going? how are we going to recover and get out of this? I can’t believe it has gotten this bad, would there have been any way to have prevented this? On this topic all i have is questions…

  13. 13 Kali Hardcastle December 6, 2009 at 11:37 AM

    i cant believe that california’s unemployment rate is so high. considering that the last time it was even higher than this, we were just coming out of the great depression. these numbers are definitely not encouraging. i do understand that construction has definitely slowed down. my family is in construction and one of the things my my grandpa said was that its now cheaper to buy foreclosed homes than build more, therefore, they arent building nearly as many homes. this is only one example of how the two things tie together. i just cant imagine the unemployment rate getting any lower.

  14. 14 Christopher Morris December 8, 2009 at 8:58 PM

    Quite frankly, this sucks. California can be such a great state at times, but we’re so big and major in the nation, that it’s like we win big or we lose big and this time we lost big. I know there’s tons of people in California, so when 12.2% of people are jobless that’s like the size of a small state. Maybe this is what California needs to drive some people out of this overcrowded state.

  15. 15 Nubia Cazares December 9, 2009 at 10:09 AM

    I think this is ridiculous that such a prominent state has such a high unemployment. But of course it makes sense that California was hit by the recession fairly hard since there are so many companies and businesses that are run in California. This unemployment rate just shows how bad the economy is. We need to do anything possible to help decrease this unemployment rate, because more and more people are getting unemployed which is hurting many other industries as well.


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