Bay Area job seekers frustrated

September 18, 2009 6:47:09 PM PDT
Despite some encouraging signs about the national economy, new indicators in California make it clear real recovery is a ways off. Unemployment jumped last month to over 12 percent, putting California's jobless rate 2.5 points above the rest of the nation. In Sunnyvale, there is despair, but also some optimism.

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In addition to the frustration of people looking for jobs, the frustration level is also growing among those trying to help people find jobs.

"We can have the best workforce training in the world, the best college education system in the world, but if you don't have jobs to send those people to, all the workforce training won't do you any good," labor market consultant Janice Shriver said. Shriver analyzes the unemployment data for the Employment Development Department.

At 12 percent, unemployment in Santa Clara County is the highest in the Bay Area, putting it just two-tenths of a percent behind the state average.

"We used to see a lot of high tech workers laid off, high skilled people; we're seeing them all the way down to entry level, retail and hospitality workers," Nova Workforce board Director Kris Stadelman said.

The number of people seeking appointments has gone up 160 percent in the past year. The number of applicants for training workshops has soared 266 percent.

Stadelman's agency is hoping to tap into federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money allocated to California.

"We have a request on the desk of the Employment Development Department for $6 million, we'd actually like to up that to $8 million," Stadelman said.

One of the few bright spots is in Sunnyvale, where Target is hiring for its new store that will have 234 employees.

A rise in the unemployment rate translates into a higher turndown rate for job seekers.

"I could hit 10, 12 places a day, and nothing, and this has never happened to me before, ever, two, three applications, and I'm usually working," job seeker Terry Francis said.

LINK: Bay Area job fairs
LINK: California unemployment numbers

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