New Unemployment Figures

Saturday June 15, 2002

LOS ANGELES — California’s unemployment rate decreased slightly in May, even as the state economy lost 9,000 jobs, officials said Friday. 

Unemployment dipped to 6.3 percent from a revised 6.5 percent in April, as fewer people looked for work, officials said. 

Every sector except government, services and mining suffered job losses last month, according to the Employment Development Department. 

The construction and manufacturing sectors took the biggest hits, losing 9,600 and 5,000 jobs, respectively. 

While the number of manufacturing jobs has been declining for more than a year, the latest losses in the construction industry were uncharacteristic. 

The number of people looking for work in California was 1.1 million last month, about 57,000 fewer than in March but 219,000 more than in May of 2001. 

The jobless rate a year ago was 5.1 percent. 

Despite the decline in jobs, the EDD forecast that the unemployment rate will stabilize in the months ahead, moving up or down by no more than three-tenths of a percent. 

“The job losses we’ve seen earlier this year have leveled off,” said Michael Bernick, director of the EDD.