Cratering California — Today`s Update
March 21, 2009, 11:21 AM
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There`s more bad news from California, which has its worst unemployment figures in 25 years. The state has many advantages going for it, but is racking up far worse joblessness (10.5%) than the nation as a whole (8.1%). Decades of bad behavior in government, particularly open borders and flagrant overspending, can no longer be hidden through financial trickery and borrowing.

Plus, residents face skyrocketing taxes to fill (temporarily) the $40 billion hole created by Sacramento`s reckless spending.

The state unemployment rate jumped to 10.5 percent in February, a level not seen since 1983, as employers cut 116,000 payroll jobs in an economic slide that has left 1.95 million Californians out of work.

Friday`s report from the Employment Development Department charts a sharp rise from January`s 10.1 percent that bring the state closer to the 11 percent peak at the end of 1982 and beginning of 1983, according to current measures that go back as far as 1976.

The U.S. unemployment rate for February was 8.1 percent. During the Great Depression unemployment was reckoned as high as 25 percent. [State jobless rate at 25-year high, San Francisco Chronicle, March 20, 2009].

It doesn`t help that California is rated as rock-bottom of all the 50 states as having an anti-business climate. For the fourth year in a row, Chief Executive magazine`s annual survey found California as the worst place to run a company.

Meanwhile, some areas of the "Golden State" have depression-level unemployment, as highlighted in NPR`s featurette about El Centro: Joblessness Becomes A Way Of Life In Calif. Town.

If the sagging economy has an epicenter, it may be El Centro, Calif., where unemployment tops 24 percent, the nation`s highest. For decades, people have crossed the border from Mexico into this part of California looking for jobs, but these days jobs are hard to come by.

"I can`t handle it. I`ve got to go back to live to Mexico again," says Robert Duenas, who lost his job as a construction worker last summer in the housing bust. "It`s hard to live here. We are kind of broke."

Scruffy El Centro is a vision of California`s Mexicanized future, unfortunately.