Bleak Unemployment Rates in the Valley from Previous Year

June 20, 2008 9:08:05 PM PDT
Numbers release by the state show unemployment has increased in all six central Valley counties from a year ago.Fresno County's unemployment rate for the month of May is 9.7%. That's about 2% higher than the same time last year. Merced County has the highest rate in the Valley. It's climbed from 9.5% to nearly 12% over a year.

But with summer approaching something could help bring these numbers down: Farming. In a region heavy with agriculture, the demand for harvesters, transporters and manufactures should reduce the unemployment rate here in Fresno County.

However, trying to find a job is the painful part for anyone out of work.

Jesse Gonzalez has spent the last two months scavenging for a job in Fresno.

Gonzalez said: "Looking, putting resumes, and filling out applications and I've gotten maybe one interview."

Gonzalez said working a few temp jobs isn't enough to support his two daughters. He had to file for unemployment.

That's why Gonzalez went to the state employment development office. He's just one of hundreds in the Valley searching for a job at local employment agencies. In May 42,500 people in Fresno county were unemployed.

"Our unemployment rate is 9.7% so of course we still want more people working," said Nanette Potter.

Potter has helped hundreds find jobs through the state's employment offices. Potter claims unemployment rates should drop through the summer because many agricultural jobs open up in the Valley.

Potter said: "More workers in trade transportation, utilities, manufacturing, retail."

Gonzalez said until a job opens up he'll have to rely on unemployment checks. "It's the only thing I can turn to right now but I would rather be on my feet working somewhere you know what I mean?"

Another sign the job outlook could be improving: although valley unemployment rates are up year to year, more people had jobs in May, than in April.


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