Few bright spots as Bay Area unemployment remains high

June 18, 2010 7:10:34 PM PDT
New jobless numbers released today show Bay Area unemployment running about 1 to 3 percent below the state average of 11.9 percent.

California's unemployment picture is a little brighter. About 28,000 jobs were created last month, which was enough to drop the unemployment rate to 12.4 percent for the month of May.

"It's been 15 months since I've been unemployed, and I've been coming here putting in my resume, and there's still no hope," says Ramin Pazir, an unemployed carpenter.

Pazir used to work on upscale residential projects.

Over 10,000 construction jobs were lost in the past year in the East Bay and South Bay. However, the latest job figures give a slight glimmer of hope.

"We didn't have any month over losses this month at all in the South Bay, job losses. So that's a good sign," says Janice Shriver, a labor market specialist.

In a month's time, from April to May, construction saw a growth of 500 jobs, professional and business services were up 300 jobs, and government up 1,200. Of course, that would include temporary census workers.

Those numbers are miniscule compared to the 321,000 people who are unemployed in the Bay Area. The number is 2.1 million statewide.

"It's been tough because nobody really wants to hire, and they're trying to do the bare minimum to conserve money or whatever," says Mark Lopes, an unemployed worker. When asked what kind of jobs he had been looking for, he says, "I'm actually applying from all the way like construction jobs to just working at like Target or Ross."

Students, like Michael Persales, seeking summer jobs are finding it tough, too. He says he hasn't had any job interviews, not even one.

You get a pretty good picture of the employment situation, by looking at the job listings on the unemployment rack. For example, four of the jobs are for the government, the State of California. The government is hiring. One job where there's only one flyer left, is for a job as a dishwasher at the Hyatt in Santa Clara.

There are jobs for unskilled or low-skill workers. The job of being a human billboard pays $8 an hour, but it's only part-time.


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