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California Unemployment Rate Dips, But 29,000 Jobs Lost

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(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — After a short-lived hiring surge at the beginning of the year, the U.S. unemployment rate either stayed flat or rose in over half of the states in the nation in May, with mixed results for the Golden State.

In what analysts say could be a sign that job growth has slowed in many parts of the country, the Labor Department says unemployment rose in 13 states and Washington, D.C, and was flat in 13, with only 24 states — including California — posting a lower jobless rate.

That’s a significant decline from April, when 39 states reported falling unemployment rates and reflects the national trend in hiring.

California saw its jobless rate dip to 11.7 percent in May down from 11.9 percent in April, but lost an estimated 29,000 jobs, another mixed indicator that reflects the lingering uncertainty over the economic recovery.

Chris Thornberg of Beacon Economics told KNX 1070 that the real news was in the actual number of jobs lost.


“The state did lose 29,000 jobs, but the good news is we lost that off a higher base after they revised last month’s numbers,” said Thornberg.

Employers added a net gain of only 54,000 jobs in May, compared to an average of 220,000 per month in the previous three months. The national unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1 percent.

Only 22 states reported a net gain in jobs in May, while 27 states lost jobs. That’s much worse than April, when 42 states gained jobs.

Thornberg also disputed a report earlier this week from the UCLA Anderson School of Management that forecast sluggish job growth all the way through 2013.

“One thing about California is we have the second-lowest vacancy rate in the nation right now in our housing stock,” said Thornberg. “All said and done, I expect that our construction market will come back faster than many other places.”

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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