Unemployed face bumpy ride in the future

January 23, 2010 6:30:24 PM PST
The latest jobless numbers, out this week, indicate a bumpy ride ahead. The job opportunities are so slim that hundreds of people lined up Saturday morning in the hopes of working on "bumpy rides" at Six Flags theme park.

It used to be a job for teenagers and college kids working the summer season at Six Flags. Now, middle-aged job hunters in business suits joined a long line outside Six Flags Discovery Kingdom's job fair.

"I expected it to be long, but this long? No," said Cynthia Chastain of Napa, referring to the line.

Brenda Kings last job was in real estate. She did not think the competition would be this stiff.

"Extremely surprised, especially for the types of positions that they have available," she told ABC7.

Inside, applicants could apply for jobs as tram driver, ride operators, food service, games and concessions, and marketing and finance. There were 1,300 seasonal jobs described by Six Flags as predominately minimum wage positions.

"Whatever is available really," said Jerry Reyes. "Really doesn't matter."

The job numbers out this week show that Californians have not been spending as much on entertainment. Normally, bars and restaurants add on employees for the holidays, but this December, the industry cut 1,100 jobs in California. The state's jobless rate is the fifth highest in the country at 12.4 percent and 500,000 Californians are considered underemployed.

Assemblyman Paul Fong says those numbers are going to go up some more after the closure of the Nummi plant. On Saturday, Fong joined a couple dozen Nummi auto workers who are slated to lose their jobs, as they picketed outside a Toyota dealership in San Jose.

The workers are protesting Toyota's decision to pull out of the Nummi auto plant in Fremont which will force the plant to shut down at the end of March.

"It's going to be tough to get a good high-paying job where you can feed your family and send your kids off to school," told ABC7.

The workers say they are going to be picketing dealerships and boycotting Toyota in an effort to pressure the automaker to stay in Fremont. If the plant closes it will be 4,700 Nummi workers out of a job, plus another 19,000 layoffs from suppliers. The union says the total jobs lost could come close to 50,000.