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L.A.'s unemployment rate grows higher

October 17, 2009 12:01:15 AM PDT
L.A.'s unemployment rate has increased and is now higher than the state average.In Los Angeles, the unemployment numbers grew to 14 percent, which means that one in seven L.A. residents is out of work. Statewide, unemployment rates remained steady, yet more than 39,000 fewer people were on the payrolls than the month before.

"I've got two kids and one on the way, and I got tons of bills," said Tamall Morris, who lost his maintenance job and is looking for any job to support his family.

Morris' wife won't be able to work in two weeks because of the pregnancy.

The Worksource Center in Van Nuys, one of several city and state funded employment centers, has not seen evidence of easing unemployment.

"Even though the numbers may remain steady, we've seen an increase in the number of customers coming in here to apply for unemployment or looking for jobs," said Marcos Serpas, a Worksource manager.

Statewide unemployment hasn't changed much, but L.A. County saw an increase to 12.7 percent. Riverside County's unemployment rate is at 14.7 percent, San Bernardino County's rate is at 13.6 percent and Orange County is below the national numbers at 9.4 percent.

Miguel Contreras is looking for a job with a steady paycheck. Like thousands of others, he lost his construction job.

More than 2,200,000 Californians are out of work, with many in construction and manufacturing.

The Worksource Center provides computers and helps with resumes, phones and job openings.

"I make ends meet by odd jobs here and there, from friends and people I know who need work around their house," said Contreras.

Economists generally agree that the recession hit bottom in June. In California however, there's little indication that the unemployed will be able to climb out of it in any hurry.


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