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California unemployment hits 6.8%

Los Angeles Times
California's construction and real estate industries helped push the state unemployment rate to 6.8% in May, its highest level in nearly five years. The State Employment Development Department reported that joblessness in May rose six-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. Although some forecasting groups continue to debate whether or not the economy is heading into a recession, these numbers should make it perfectly clear that the state is already in a recession.

California's May unemployment rate was the fifth-highest in the nation, behind Michigan, Rhode Island, Alaska and Mississippi, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "We see a long period of continued sluggishness driven by the late innings of the housing slowdown, followed by Sacramento-driven government reductions", said Ryan Ratcliff, an economist at the UCLA Anderson School of Business.

The employment scene is not all bad. Some industries gained in May, adding a net 9,000 jobs, including education and health services, natural resources and mining, and information technology. The leisure-and-hospitality business created 1,300 new jobs in May and San Francisco gained 2,300 jobs at restaurants, hotels and entertainment centers.

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