For the movie buffs out there, you may remember the classic movie "Grapes of Wrath" where people who lost their jobs in the dust-bowl drying up agriculture jobs in the midwest loaded everybody up in the car to head to California---Land of jobs and opportunity---Unfortunately, there weren't plentiful opportunities once they got to the golden state.
If you look at data for our Nation's most populous state, you'll see that for the first time ever it has more than 2.2 million people out of jobs (This doesn't include the likely 1 million more who are working part-time jobs even though they want full time work). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in just a few short years the jobless ranks more than doubled from less than 1 million to greater than 2 million.
One thing to note however, is that from 1976 to 2009---The state of California has seen a huge increase in population and hence a big increase in the size of its labor force. In fact over 33 years, it has increased almost 80% from less than 10 million workers to around 18 million workers.
The unemployment rate is just the # of jobless workers divided by the labor force---As you can see, California is seeing record high unemployment rates of 12.5% as of October 2009.
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What is interesting to note is that from April 2009 to October 2009, the BLS thinks that California's labor force dropped by almost 300,000 workers---If you think cynically and say that those people probably really are still in California and not working---The unemployment rate in October would have been closer to 13.9% in California...