State’s unemployment rate increases |

State’s unemployment rate increases

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO (AP) – The unemployment rate in California grew to 5.1 percent in June, up from 4.9 percent in May, according to a state report released Friday.

The state’s Employment Development Department found that 878,000 Californians were unemployed and looking for work, an increase of 24,000 from May and up 1,000 compared to June of last year.

The employment downturn has been concentrated in the Silicon Valley and other parts of the Bay Area, but also hit parts of Southern California.

In Los Angeles County, the unemployment rate rose to 5.3 percent, up from 5.2 percent the month before. In Orange County, the jobless rate climbed to 3 percent in June, up from 2.6 percent in May.

The federal government reported last week that the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 4.5 percent in June as businesses eliminated 114,000 jobs.

The state’s unemployment rate reached a 32-year low of 4.5 percent in February, but has been steadily climbing. The jobless rate is now at its highest level since June 2000, when it also was 5.1 percent.

Most of the employment decline occurred in manufacturing, with the electronic equipment, industrial machinery and fabricated metal sectors taking the brunt of the losses.

The construction industry showed the strongest job growth with 38,300 new jobs – an increase of about 5.2 percent.

The overall slowdown can be traced primarily to the once-soaring computer services sector. Computer service jobs, including Internet service providers and software developers, fell in May in California for the first time in the five years that the sector has been tracked.

Analysts said the employment statistics show that California is narrowly avoiding a recession.

”It suggests an economy that’s drifting, not going anywhere,” said Brad Williams, senior economist for the California legislative analyst’s office.

Imperial County, east of San Diego, had the highest unemployment rate among the state’s 58 counties: 21.4 percent.

Marin County had the lowest jobless rate with 2.3 percent unemployed.

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