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State's Unemployment Rate Unchanged, Despite Job Gains

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, May 21, 2010
California employers added just over 14-thousand jobs in April, according to the state’s employment development department. The biggest increase was in government jobs.  However, the unemployment rate was unchanged from March at 12-point-six percent. Economists say one reason could be a bigger pool of job-seekers. During the recession, some people gave up looking for work and weren’t included in the unemployment figures – now those people may be getting back into the game. In a statement, Governor Schwarzenegger said he was encouraged that April marked the fourth consecutive month California has added jobs – but the state has a long way to go for employment to recover.  The U.S. unemployment rate was 9.9 percent last month.


The Sacramento area’s unemployment rate dropped quite a bit last month – seven-tenths of a point, down to 12.4 percent.
The four-county region did lose 200 jobs overall – but Alex Alvarado with the state’s employment development department says most industries actually added jobs.
Alvarado: “We saw an 800 increase in jobs from March to April, and farm employment actually fell 1,000, so that’s what puts us down 200 overall. And usually farm employment in April increases a lot, so that’s where we’re really seeing the difference.”
Alvarado says the farm decrease likely came from the unusually wet and cold spring.
But Sacramento State economist George Jouganatos says the numbers don’t tell the whole story. 
Jouganatos: “There is some job growth, but we also know the unemployment statistic understates the true unemployment. People have left the job market – these are the discouraged workers. Also, the part-time workers are included as full-time workers.”
The Central Valley continues to have among the worst unemployment rates in California: around 18 percent around Stockton and Modesto and nearly 20 percent in Merced.
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