Mixed reactions from jobless on unemployment rate

June 17, 2011 7:57:39 PM PDT
New figures released on Friday show a small improvement in California's unemployment rate.

The state's unemployment rate fell to 11.7 percent, a drop of nearly a full percentage point since the year began. In April, the rate was at 11.8 percent and last year, unemployment was at 12.5 percent.

However, employers also shed 29,000 jobs in May, the largest job loss since last fall. Aircraft mechanic Steven Frazier was among those who received a pink slip, but he remains positive because of his unique skills.

"It's not too bad for me," Frazier said. "But for a guy coming out of prison, (or) people who get laid off from an $8 janitorial jobs, where are (they) going to find another job?"

A drop in unemployment along with significant job losses happens for only one reason: Some people just stop looking.

"They're dropping out because they don't think they can find a job," said UC Davis professor and economist Phil Martin, Ph. D. "In order to be counted as 'unemployed,' you have to be actively looking for work."

There is one bright spot: The information sector. Not only did it add jobs last month, job growth increased by 7 percent last year.

That figure doesn't necessarily help Frazier, who might have to expand his job search to stay in the airline industry.

"You might have to go out of state, you might have to go out of town," Frazier said. "You might have to go to Arizona; you might have to go to Texas."

Both Arizona and Texas have employment rates in the single digits.

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