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Improved numbers in revised Calif. jobs report

March 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
There's good news and bad news about California's unemployment rate. Revised numbers show there were slightly more people out of work in January than the previous month. The state also added jobs in January. Sonia Concua is a whiz at data entry. Still, she's at an employment center seeking a permanent job. She's been out of work for a year.

"I am still trying," said Concua. "I don't give up. I think there is something out there."

Concua is part of an underestimated population. The state Employment Development Department has just recalculated last year's data.

It initially showed the state lost 1 million jobs between December 2007 and 2009. That figure was off. It missed 338,000 jobs. The total loss was 1.3 million jobs.

"So if you were feeling bad, you had every right to feel bad," said Jack Kyser, senior vice president and chief economist, Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation.

Kyser says current job numbers are not much better. Though federal dollars are helping construction workers, the January unemployment rate for Los Angeles County was 12.5 percent, a fraction higher than December, when there's extra hiring for the holidays.

More significant, says Kyser, is a survey that shows California added 32,600 hundred jobs in January. That ends a two-month losing streak.

"This is different from the national trend. So this is a positive sign. We're seeing more 'green shoots' out there," said Kyser.

New jobs were created in health services, higher education, skilled temporary work, and "green" jobs.

"Solar installers: The Department of Water and Power for the city Glendale is currently hiring for that, but they need the re-training, so Verdugo Jobs Center is providing training for those that are qualified," said Cesar Valladares, Verdugo Employment Center.

A hint of recovery. Look for little steps, says Kyser, like a patient trying to recuperate.

"You were in the hospital, you were very, very sick. You're not going to jump up and run around your hospital room," said Kyser. "Almost every sector saw job losses, but now it's starting to look a little brighter."