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California's Jobless Rate Falls Into The Ocean

We knew it was coming, but it's still a bit of a shock to see California's jobless rate has hit 11.2 percent, up from 10.6 percent in February. That's higher than the recession of the 1980's and the loss of the defense industry in the '90s.

One out of nine working adults here is out of a job. And the real number is likely much higher.

I keep seeing signs that things are not like they used to be.

Your Job, Your Life | A CNBC Special Report
Your Job, Your Life | A CNBC Special Report

Yes, there are occasional pleasant surprises—a trip to The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles two weeks ago unveiled a bustling mall bursting at the seams with shoppers.

But more often, I see the sort of thing I noticed yesterday driving up Pacific Coast Highway.

Out one window, I enjoyed sunlight glistening on the ocean. Out the other, I saw building after building of empty storefronts.

Even in Malibu, times are tough.

California's unemployment rate is nearly double what it was a year ago, when unemployment was only 6.4 percent. During the last year the Golden State has lost more than 600,000 non-farm payroll jobs. Throw in farm jobs and the annual loss still tops a half million. The overall number of Californians considered "unemployed" tops two million. The biggest drop is, of course, in construction, where nearly one out of five jobs has disappeared. Even government jobs are shrinking!

Let us hope this is not one area where California leads the rest of the nation.

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