Forecast Suggests Surge in Calif. Unemployment Rate

December 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The UCLA Anderson Forecast is a highly respected gauge of where the state and the nation's economy is headed. The forecast suggests California's unemployment rate will surge even higher than its already record level of 12.3%. Just three years ago the rate was 4.4%.Zach Godinho said, "I have a job ... I'm looking for a career."

Zach Godinho was one of dozens lined up at Workforce Connection in Fresno Wednesday looking for a job.

"I need something that pays well ... something that's consistent ... the job I'm currently in is inconsistent. You know I'll have 20-25 hours one week ... this week I have six and a half," said Godinho.

More than 30-thousand people have come through the doors at Fresno County's Workforce Connection in the past year ... people looking for work ... people looking for training ... or people like Annette Cabral heading back to school.

Cabral said, "Now there's nothing out there ... so I'm changing my career from dental assisting to computers."

The UCLA Anderson Forecast predicts continued double digit unemployment in the state of California next year ... and through 2011. But Fresno's Mayor Ashley Swearengin believes the long term economic outlook for the Central Valley is better than the state.

Mayor Swearengin said, "We know that our revenues are going to decline through 2010. We're going to stabilize in 2011 and we're going to see some modest growth in 2012 ... and I think the state economists are looking at a worse picture for the state."

While city and county government jobs are shrinking ... and there is still a high inventory of homes for sale and little residential construction going on ... agriculture exports from the Central Valley are in high demand in Asian countries which has helped the economy.

The director of Workforce Connection says many construction jobs should be available after the first of the year.

Blake Konczal said, "Only a very small percentage of the stimulus money that was supposed to go toward infrastructure ... roads and bridges is in play right now ... 15 to 20 percent. So the prediction that I've been hearing are that in the new year more of that money will be moving into the economy."

Konczal says even if construction isn't your forte ... other jobs in the Valley exist ... keep looking.


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