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California unemployment rate reaches 12.5%

November 20, 2009 |  9:31 am

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California's unemployment continued its upward march in October, reaching a post-World War II high of 12.5%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said this morning. But don't roll your eyes at the never-ending stream of bad news just yet. California actually added 25,700 jobs in October, making this the first month since April of 2008 that the state has gained jobs.

California still has the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the nation, yes, and its unemployment rate is a whopping 4.5 percentage points higher than it was in October 2008. But the job gains are a significant part of a trend that's seen the pace of job loss slow as the economy pulled itself back together again.

The state has lost 687,700 jobs over the last year.

Los Angeles County also saw some gains from last month. The government sector added 19,300 jobs and information, led by motion picture and sound recording, added 2,500.

Still, don't expect much to change in the day-to-day life of people looking for jobs, especially in the Southland. Los Angeles County's unemployment rate climbed to 12.8% in October, with job losses in manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, and construction. The unemployment rate in Riverside and San Bernardino counties reached 14.6% in October, up from a revised 12.3% in September. That region has been particularly hard hit by the construction bust.

-- Alana Semuels

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