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http://www.sacbee.com/1089/story/1568501.html

State, local jobless rates soar

California lost 78,200 jobs and the state's unemployment jumped nine-tenths of a percentage point in December to 9.3 percent, the state announced this morning.

The Employment Development Department said the state has now lost a combined 151,700 jobs in two months. Those represent the two worst months for job loss since July 2001, when 85,100 jobs disappeared, said chief economist Howard Roth of the state Department of Finance.

Greater Sacramento unemployment jumped to 8.7 percent, up from 8.1 percent a month earlier. The four-county region lost 4,700 jobs during the month as big layoffs in construction and other sectors swamped unusually small gains in retailing and tourist-related industries.

The region has now lost 22,400 jobs in the past year, or 2.4 percent of its employment base.

"We're in a pretty good recession here," Roth said. The numbers show the recession, which is now more than a year old, worsened significantly in the second half of 2008, he said.

Many economists believe recovery won't begin until late 2009 or early 2010, and the job market will remain dismal in the meantime. "We're going to see bad numbers predominantly for a while," Roth said.

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