Latest Analysis of California Unemployment Figures and the Impact on our Community

California's unemployment rate remains the second-highest in the nation – 12 percent in July – but among some demographic groups, joblessness is even higher.
The unemployment rate among 16- to 19-year-olds in California was 34.2 percent last month, according to the state's analysis of federal data.That's down from 34.5 percent a month earlier and 34.8 percent a year ago.

For non-white workers, unemployment over the past year has increased, from 12.4 percent to 13.4 percent. Whereas 11.6 percent of whites were out of work in July, 14.3 percent of Hispanics and 20.3 percent of blacks were unemployed. While the unemployment rate in California is higher among men than women, over the past year, it has improved more for men than it has for women: Between July 2010 and July 2011, the unemployment rate among men fell from 13 percent to 12.5 percent. Among women, unemployment rose from 11 to 11.4 percent during the same time.

Many of the jobless Californians counted a year ago still are unemployed today: Slightly more than 1 in 3 – 727,000 people in all – have been out of work 52 weeks or more. Over the past year, the number of people unemployed a year or more grew 18.8 percent.

Unemployed workers are eligible for up to 99 weeks of jobless benefits. As of Aug. 16, the number of Californians who had exhausted all their benefits is more than 497,000, according to the state Employment Development Department.

It's unknown how many of these "99ers" have gone on to find work. Since last year, however, the number of people no longer in the labor force in California increased by 377,000 to nearly 10.4 million in July. That figure includes 947,000 who want a job and 157,000 who are not looking for work because they are discouraged about their prospects.

Among workers with jobs, many have fewer hours than they would like: Nearly 1.5 million are working part time for economic reasons. Since last year, that number has decreased by 54,000.
Jobless rates in California, not seasonally adjusted, ranged from 8.1 percent in Marin County to 30.8 percent in Imperial County. Nationally, the unemployment rate in July was 9.1 percent. Nevada registered the highest jobless rate at 12.9 percent.

Joanna Lin
Health and Welfare Reporter