California adds jobs, but Inland Empire sees unemployment tick up


California's unemployment rate for May dipped to 10.8 percent. That's still higher than the national average of 8.2 percent, but it's an improvement. The state added almost 34,000 jobs, with the largest gains in the area of leisure and hospitality.

But despite the positive news, California still has the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation.

That's something a lot of people can relate to, especially in the Inland Empire, where the unemployment rate is still a full percentage point higher than the state average.

People there are trying to bounce back.

"It's been not fun, it's been hard, difficult especially being a new graduate," said Moreno Valley resident Ruth Jurado. "Not very many opportunities, especially when you are changing your career field."

So she is using her background and insurance license in the hopes of being placed in a job by the staffing agency Riverside Personnel Services Inc.

Kathleen Hartman runs the agency and has seen the recession take its toll on job-seekers and companies alike.

"We had a good year last year, a good rebound year was last year," said Hartman. "This year has been a little bit flatter."

Unemployment numbers show that a slight drop in hiring last month inched the jobless rate in San Bernardino and Riverside counties up to 11.8 percent, an increase of a tenth of a percentage point from April's unemployment rate of 11.7 percent.

"The Inland Empire is really trying to rebound in regards to our job market, and the most interesting part of that is that we're not seeing attrition happen," said Hartman.

The lack of confidence in the job market may be one reason why many people with jobs are reluctant to leave and look for better opportunities.

Ruth Jurado remains hopeful she will soon land a job and has this advice for job seekers:

"Stay strong," said Jurado. "See if you can find anybody to help you like I found this agency."

Hartman also says it's important to have the right attitude.

"They have to have a great resume, they have to have great references, and get out there and not be frustrated and not show their frustration out there," said Hartman.

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