Unemployment Rates in San Diego County: Numbers Do Lie

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It’s a story we all know and hate: the large amounts of joblessness in California, a state which, despite its bountiful natural resources, pristine weather, choice Pacific location, and diverse population, still lags far behind the rest of the country, coming in at number three among the fifty United States in terms of highest rates of unemployment.

But in recent months a spark of hope seems to have appeared: the state’s unemployment rate dropped a nominal amount to 12.4 percent in May from 12.5 percent in April, and San Diego County’s unemployment rate dropped from 10.4 percent in April to 10 percent in May. The percentage changes indicate that in recent months, about 28,000 jobs have been created in the state, and about 8,000 in San Diego County. We know what you’re thinking. Great news, right? Well, not so much.

While the recent statistics tell the story of a job market on the rise, a closer look at the numbers will tell you unemployment’s dirty little secret—the job market is actually worse this month than it was last month. That is, when you account for seasonal hiring patterns and the recent (and temporary) information collecting jobs created for the recent 2010 census. Take those chunks of information out of the statistics and what you get is not encouraging: a job loss of about 2,000 occupations in San Diego County alone.

Despite the dim prospects, however, there is a reason for San Diegans to hold out hope: experts believe the local job market will slowly but steadily improve by the end of the year. In an interview with KPBS’s Erik Andersen, University of San Diego economist Alan Gin stated that in recent months the job market has showed small improvements, with help wanted ads on the rise. Gin said, “If we can get a turnaround in terms of jobs and get this ball rolling it should create a self-reinforcing cycle, in that, people will have more money. They’ll go out and spend more and that’ll create even more jobs.”

Here’s hoping.

Photo from daquella manera via flickr

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