In California they might be forgiven for viewing the latest employment figures somewhat sceptically. US unemployment stabilised in November after rising sharply in previous months.
However, companies might be cutting fewer jobs, but that does not mean they are hiring workers. A stone’s throw from Disneyland, the queue at a recuitment fair includes former managers who have never known the experience of being out of work. Some jobseekers find their age is a handicap for the few vacancies there are. Alonzo Cooks said: “If somebody does get hired in my position, they get somebody right out of college with little or no experience and a lot younger who they can pay even less than what I would be worth.” Janet Kobba is also out of work: “I probably have applied to more than 20 places and either they’re not hiring or they’re accepting applications; and to me, accepting applications means that they’re not hiring.” Of the fifteen American towns worst hit by unemployment, more than half are in the golden state. Every day thousands desperately seek work. Louie Zepeda was scouring the career postings board at the Los Angeles Mission: “Now this past year I have been full time job searching because of the economy the prospects just aren’t there, unfortunately. There is some, but there aren’t that many.” Despite the reassuring news that job losses are slowing up nationally it may be some time before these jobseekers notice a difference. California has been particularly badly hit by the damage done by the crisis to its hi-tech industry and property market.