Calif. unemployment numbers not encouraging

September 16, 2011 6:02:57 PM PDT
New jobs numbers are out for California and they're not encouraging. The California unemployment rate rose again to 12.1 percent last month, but there is a bit of a silver lining in the Bay Area if you work in certain industries.

The state's Employment Development Department, or EDD, says that the high tech industry is to thank for bringing down the Bay Area's unemployment numbers during a period from July to August. However, that doesn't mean much to the still hefty ranks of long and freshly unemployed.

Barbara Harris is looking for work. In August, the single mother of two girls was laid off from her administrative job at UC Berkeley, where she had worked for 22 years.

"I was in a world of shock, as to be laid off after being loyal for 22-and-a-half years," said Harris.

Across the Bay Area, unemployment actually dropped nearly half a percent. The best job market is San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin Counties, now nearing 8 percent unemployment. The South Bay is second best at 10 percent. The East Bay is still at 10.6 percent unemployment.

And that doesn't include the 1,100 workers laid off this month at Solyndra solar panel company in Fremont.

"What do they expect us to do? Where do they expect us to go? Even though I have a degree and what not, and continue to further my advanced degree it's very difficult," said Harris.

"It's an employers' market and they're seeking to get exactly what they're looking for and even though a person may have some experience, but perhaps somebody comes along that has a little more experience, so of course, you always try to get the most bang for your buck," said Alan Jackson, an EDD site manager.

The EDD says in the East Bay, industries showing growth over the last year include construction, transportation and utilities.

Jackson has worked at helping people find jobs for 35 years and has some advice.

"Flexibility, and I guess this is my pet peeve, as long as you're flexible there will be some opportunities and remember something is better than nothing. If you can get a hold of something, then of course you can go from there," said Jackson.

The EDD says statewide over the last year, government is where the most jobs were lost and that also held true in the East Bay.


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