Calif. jobless rate falls to 12.4 percent

LOS ANGELES Like many Americans, Raphael Matthews is having a tough time getting back into the workforce.

"I am definitely frustrated. This job search is taking me forever," said Matthews.

In the meantime, Matthews is sharpening his skills on the computer at the Canoga Park Workforce Center, and so are many others out of work because that's what employers are looking for today. But making that change can be difficult.

"It's actually very challenging when you have been on the same job for a very long time," said Olabisi Oyewo of Canoga Park Workforce Center. "The way you looked for work in 1983 is completely different from the way you look for work today."

Oyewo is the manager at Canoga Park Workforce Center and she says for many looking for work there is light at the end of the unemployment tunnel.

"It's getting pretty good," said Oyewo "We have seen an increase in the number of job placements. Last month alone we had 30 to 35 placements."

In fact, the most recent jobless numbers in Southern California are encouraging.

Although Los Angeles County's unemployment rate is up in May it isn't much, 12.3 percent versus 12.2 in April. But Orange County's rate dipped to 9.2 percent from 9.5 in April. The Inland Empire saw a drop to 13.9 percent from 14.2 percent and Ventura County fell to 10.2 percent from 10.5 percent.

But many job experts say California and other states added jobs to its payrolls just because the government hired temporary workers as census takers. But on closer inspection it's not just census takers who were finding work.

The Southland had an increase in transportation jobs in most counties and construction jobs saw a slight increase too, that could mean good news for the housing market.

Home sales and home prices are up in the Southland for the month of May. This is another encouraging sign that the economy is showing some recovery -- at least here in Southern California.

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