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California sees cautious optimism in job search

October 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
There is a reason for cautious optimism as California's employment figures have improved to 10.2 percent -- the biggest one month jump in the country.

A lot of those new jobs came in leisure and hospitality, while construction was one of the job sectors that reported a loss. But the overall improvement might be due to the fact that a lot of unemployed Californians have simply given up the job search.

Locally, many people turn to the Verdugo Jobs Center in Glendale. They are among the 1.7 million unemployed Californians who are looking for work.

Andrea Mejia has been unemployed since the JC Penny store in San Fernando went out of business four months ago.

"I'm very positive and I'm looking and I'm not going to give up," Mejia said.

According to the latest state employment figures, California's jobless rate fell to 10.2 percent in September, down from 10.6 percent. That number is a full percentage point better than it was last year.

"California suffered the worst recession that it ever experienced since the Great Depression, and we've been climbing out of that for the last four years," said Gov. Jerry Brown.

But the double digit unemployment rate remains one of the highest in the country. And for those who have been out of work for months, the improvement seems inconsequential.

Dan Rosen says attending job fairs can be depressing.

"It's just a mass of people," he said. "A sea of people. And how are you going to denote yourself from the other people?"

In Los Angeles County, the total workforce grew by 66,000 jobs over the last year -- a 1.8 percent increase. Orange County's workforce of more than 1.6 million grew slightly over the past year by .4 percent while Riverside and San Bernardino counties actually lost jobs. The total workforce there dropped by .4 percent.

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