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Randy Pench / rpench@sacbee.com

Sierra Pacific Industries mill worker David Cudia talks with his supervisor, Aaron McPherson, at the small log mill in April. Workers were laid off when the Quincy mill closed in May.

Popular Comment
California's unemployment rate IS NOT 11.5 percent. Discussing this with an EDD official just yesterday, he admitted tha when underemployed people -- those still employed but have had their hours reduced below 40 hours -- the real rate is over 16 percent. AND they have no way of knowing how many thousands have fallen off unemployment and are have stopped looking for work. Obama promised to save and create 3 million jobs -- thanks for nothing Obama! And you had to print trillion$ of dollars to do nothing!!

-- fsteph

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California unemployment rate hits record high

California's unemployment rate climbed to 11.5 percent in May, the highest in modern record-keeping, the California Employment Development Department reported today. Sacramento County unemployment was at 11.1 percent in May, up from April's 10.8 percent.

Nonfarm payrolls numbers statewide dropped by another 68,900 for the month. That's roughly the same rate of job losses as in March and April, suggesting that California hasn't yet turned the corner to economic recovery.

"We were hoping that these numbers would be dropping," said Howard Roth, chief economist at the state Department of Finance.

The rate at which jobs are being lost nationally dropped in May, making California's continued losses particularly disappointing, Roth said.

Payroll numbers in the four-county Sacramento region have now fallen 5.2 percent since May of 2008, a loss of 46,200 jobs.

State employment officials said the government posted the largest job declines statewide in the month, down by 14,200 jobs statewide. Every other sector besides education and health services also saw losses.

The federal government reported that unemployment rose in 48 states and the District of Columbia in May, raising the national jobless rate to 9.4 percent.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement that with the massive international economic downturn, it's natural the state would see historic job losses.

"A full recovery will not happen overnight - it will take time, which only further underscores the need to continue the economic stimulus measures I fought for in the February budget," said Schwarzenegger. "There is no greater priority right now than to stimulate the economy, create jobs and get California back on the road to prosperity."

Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has proposed laying off another 5,000 state employees, along with billions of dollars in cuts to education and social welfare programs, to address a $24.3 billion deficit for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

But lawmakers are divided over how to close the gap and could be headed toward another budget standoff, which would further jeopardize the state's precarious finances.

Call The Bee's Jim Downing, (916) 321-1065.

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