Little relief in new SoCal jobless numbers

CRENSHAW DISTRICT, LOS ANGELES At a Crenshaw jobs center, a former refinery worker, Raajib Sattaral El, is in his ninth month of unemployment.

"Due to the economic situation they pulled the contract, which left me unemployed," said Sattaral El.

And now in just the last month, 11,000 more jobless Californians join him.

"What you are seeing is a lot of people getting back into the job hunt," said Jack Kyser, economic analyst for the Southern California Association of Governments.

Kyser says many of the newly unemployed are former census workers. Other government jobs are also gone.

The local breakdown: the unemployment rate for Los Angeles County is up from 12.4 percent to 12.6 percent.

Yet there are areas of growth: One is the motion picture industry. Another is in ports and trade.

"We've seen very, very strong growth in import activity," said Kyser.

That port activity also benefits the hard-hit Inland Empire. Unemployment is 15.3 percent in Riverside County, the same as last month.

In San Bernardino County, the unemployment rate is down from 14.8 to 14.2 percent.

Many containers are trucked to the Inland Empire for distribution.

Ventura County's rate declined slightly from last month, from 11.3 to 11.2 percent. It is helped by new cars arriving through Port Hueneme.

Who's doing better?

"Orange County is definitely in a recovery mode," said Kyser.

Because of the hospitality and travel industries, the jobless rate is down from 9.9 to 9.6 percent in Orange County.

For steady work look for jobs where there is investment in infrastructure. The Exposition Light Rail Line, for example.

"They're all union employees so they make good money," said one worker. Thirty dollars an hour plus benefits. The project will last through next summer.

As for Raajib Sattaral El's outlook?

"I have a wife and four children. That motivates me a great deal, so I am going to keep trying of course. There's no giving up," said Sattaral El.

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