Unemployment numbers show little to no progress statewide

August 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
New unemployment numbers show little to no progress statewide. The unemployment rate in California jumped .4%, hitting 12% in July. In Fresno County, unemployment rose to 16.7%.

For the past two years, Rosie Hernandez of Fresno says she's worked tirelessly to find a job.

Rosie Hernandez said, "I'm applying for customer service, or cashier, retail, or housing, anything that's available."

Hernandez spends most days searching at Workforce Connection, a job counseling firm in Central Fresno. Dozens of job openings are posted on the wall. But, counselors here say, the competition is fierce.

Ivonne Lopez, Workforce Connection said, "There's a line of 300 people applying for the same job."

And new unemployment numbers for the month of July show that.

In the Valley, Merced County has the highest at 18.7%. Mariposa County has the lowest rate at 10.9%. Madera County checked in at 15.4%. Kings, Tulare and Fresno counties all have a rate above 16%. To put that in perspective - nationally the average jobless rate is just above 9%.

Fresno Mayor, Ashley Swearengin says city officials are taking steps to spur job growth, including making the process of opening up new businesses easier.

Swearengin said, "Most people who interact with city hall today say it's a very different place to conduct business then it was just a couple years ago."

While that's a start... experts say applicants should take charge.

Research a company before you interview, and if necessary, change the field you're used to working in. James Lane of Fresno did just that. After losing his job at a bakery last October, he decided to get his commercial driver's license. And just this week, he landed a job, as a truck driver.

Lane said, "It's looking up a little more than it was before."

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UNEMPLOYMENT RATE BY COUNTY - July 2011:
And Year over change in county unemployment rates

Fresno 16.7% (+0.4%)

Merced 18.7% (-0.1%)

Mariposa 10.9% (+0.7%)

Madera 15.4% (-0.1%)

Tulare 16.6% (-0.2%)

Kings 16.1% (+0.5%)


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