State Jobless Rate Hits All-Time Low
California’s rate of unemployment dipped to 4.5 percent in October, the lowest since the state began calculating the figure in 1976. At the same time, employer payrolls in the state continued to grow with 9300 new jobs added. Professional and business services led the way with 8700 new positions, followed by leisure and hospitality (+4700), education and health services (+1700), financial (+800), and mining (+300). Government posted the most job losses (-2000), followed by trade, transit and utilities (-1600), manufacturing (-1500), information (-1100), construction (-600), and other services (-100). While the state’s rate of unemployment set a record, it couldn’t match the federal figure of 4.4 percent.
On the Job Front
NATIONWIDE – If you are looking for a banking job, you might want to consider Wachovia, the nation’s fourth-largest bank. Although the company announced last week it was closing 200 branches across the US, it also announced plans to open over 100 outlets in Southern California next year. The firm is based in Charlotte, NC.
STATEWIDE – California could add 3 million jobs and grow by 5 million new residents over the next decade if leaders can solve key problems surrounding education, housing, water availability and transportation. Those are the findings of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, a think tank based in Palo Alto.
BAY AREA – Several newspaper jobs were eliminated and others were outsourced to India by MediaNews Group, which owns most of the Bay Area newspapers except the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and the SF Chronicle. Eight editorial positions were cut at ANG Newspapers, which publishes the Oakland Tribune, Tri-Valley Herald and papers in Fremont and San Mateo. Advertising production jobs at ANG and the Contra Costa Times were outsourced to New Delhi. This comes on the heels of 101 cuts at the San Jose Mercury News. Newspapers nationwide have been fighting to maintain profits in the face of increased competition from the Internet.
OAKLAND – DoBake Bakeries has leased the former Mother’s Cookie plant for ten years beginning in April. It will consolidate its West Oakland and Hayward baking operations in the new location, which will undergo a $1-million renovation. DoBake estimates it will add 100 jobs over the next three to five years . . . WorldHeart Corp, maker of medical devices, is laying off 50 to 55 workers, about half its staff. The cutbacks will affect employees here and in the Netherlands. The downsizing follows reduced demand for one of its key products.
ROCKLIN – Telecom company SOS is increasing revenue and staff as the public begins to embrace Internet phone service. Last year, it had 23 workers, it now has 35.
SACRAMENTO – What to do with kids? The answer to that question is going to result in lots of jobs for Sacramento-area adults. Older children are the focus of Funtastic Play Center, founded in El Dorado Hills. The new franchise chain will be opening in Elk Grove, Natomas and Roseville. Younger children are the focus of KidsPark Inc, a Bay Area franchise of hourly drop-in childcare centers. They will be opening in Folsom next month, Natomas in January, and Elk Grove this summer . . . KeyEye Communications, a designer of superfast microchips, plans to hire eight workers over the next six months . . . Engineering firm Wood Rodgers is cutting its workforce by 10 percent, citing the slowdown in housing development.