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Unemployment hits 15 percent in Inland Empire

March 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
California's unemployment figures were released Wednesday and 12.5 percent of Californians are without jobs. But travel to the Inland Empire and that unemployment rate jumps to 15 percent, the highest ever since the state started keeping records.At the Workforce Development Center in Riverside job seekers are not surprised.

"Right now I'm finding out it's real difficult to find a job. I might have to go to another state," said jobseeker Scott Pennington.

"Hundreds of people are putting in applications everywhere. It's real tough," said Tatsuhiko Roberts.

Comparatively the unemployment rate in Riverside County is at 15.1 percent. San Bernardino County is at 14.8 percent. The situation is also tough in Los Angeles County which has a 13.2 percent unemployment rate. Unemployment is at 11.6 percent in Ventura County and 10.1 percent in Orange County.

Economist say a lot of the problems with unemployment stem from the housing market. In the Inland Empire more than 60 percent of homes are upside down. Combining unemployment and foreclosures, the only metropolitan area in worse shape than the Inland Empire is Detroit.

"It's not exactly a group your area to be involved with," said economist John Husing.

Husing says unemployment numbers should improve later this year. He has been studying the economy for 46 years and says this is the worse unemployment has ever been in that time.

Job seekers say they just have to stay positive.

"Keep the faith and believe that the economy is going to pick up and that we're all going to go back to work soon," said Pennington.