California unemployment rate jumps

August 15, 2008 7:01:32 PM PDT
State officials say California's unemployment rate jumped to 7.3 percent in July, up from a revised 7 percent in June.

The number of jobs related to the housing industry continues to dwindle, sending the unemployment rate up to a whopping 7.3 percent for July.

Construction worker Mel Sanchez has only had one month of work for the entire year.

"I called my dispatcher, and I kind of asked her, 'Do you think there will be anything for this whole season?' And she said, 'No,'" said Sanchez.

The state believes more and more people are crowding unemployment offices because other sectors are also now laying off workers, particularly in consumer-related services.

"The high gas prices, the high food prices. What we're seeing is a big impact in leisure and hospitality and retail/trade. That's what's really starting to impact the rest of the economy," said Loree Levy from the California Employment Development Department.

The Bay Area, though, fared better than the rest of the state.

Marin County had the lowest jobless rate at just five percent, San Mateo County was the next lowest at 5.1 percent and Napa County had 5.2 percent -- all more than two percent below the state average.

Lawmakers are well aware of the rising unemployment rate. While both parties have plans, none of them creates jobs immediately.

Democrats think lots of jobs can be created in the Inland Empire and Central Valley by looking to green technology.

"The Silicon Valley is known for their venture capital, for their entrepreneurship, for starting companies. But they don't have factories there," said Assemblyman Juan Arambula (D) from the Jobs Committee Chairman.

Republicans want to offer incentives for companies to stay in California.

"The corporations are saying, 'You want a job, you come with us.' And we've got to make sure we stop both in this state. We can't do it overnight, unfortunately," said Minority Leader Mike Villines (R) Clovis.

That's way too long for Sanchez, who now faces the reality of having to give up his trade.

"Jump ship. Move to another career, another profession," said Sanchez.

Sanchez is looking into healthcare, which is one of the few sectors that saw job growth.


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