County unemployment rate rises sharply

But jobs only drop by 800

The county unemployment rate rose to 3.7 percent in June, up from a revised 2.9 percent in May. Non-farm jobs dropped by 800 in the month, which is not alarming — at least yet.

Leisure and hospitality jobs did best, rising 2300. That has a seasonal component. Employment in professional and business services dropped by 2500 — something to watch in future months.

The unemployment rate hit or topped 4 percent in several communities: Bonita 4.8 percent, Bostonia 7.2, Casa de Oro Mount Helix 4.1, Chula Vista 4.1, El Cajon 4.1, Imperial Beach 4.6, Lakeside 4.1, Lemon Grove 4.2, National City 5.0, Spring Valley 4.7 and Vista 4.0.

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The real question is the quantity of quality good paying full time jobs with benefits. Seasonal jobs are temporary and low wage with no benefits. Companies that pay low wages and low/no benefits rely on the largess of the taxpayer and government programs to augment their profits by supplying food, housing, medical care, low cost transportation, etc. to their low wage employees. These companies boast of huge profits but just how much profit would they make if they paid a fair wage with benefits to their employees? The San Diego region is fast becoming a two class system of the haves and the have not's with the hollowing out of the middle class. Many areas are fast becoming ghettos. A ghetto is created by forcing many people to live in a house or apartment because of their inability to afford housing.

AlexClarke: Yes, and we might as well point the finger at the major offender: Walmart. People think they are getting great bargains there, but don't realize that through government programs, they are subsidizing Walmart employees' food, medical care and the like. Walmart is a major recipient of corporate welfare. But the Walton family is among the fiercest opponents of the inheritance tax. Those Waltons are all worth billions, but don't want any of their money to go to the government that is subsidizing the company. Best, Don Bauder

It has been estimated that each Walmart store costs the taxpayers $1,000,000 in welfare benefits paid to their employees. I remember reading the story a few years ago and have not yet been able to find the source.

AlexClarke: I probably read the same source, too, but would never remember where I read it. I don't keep a Walmart file, other than reminding myself never to go inside the place. Best, Don Bauder

Don, I"m a skeptic of these employment and unemployment stats, especially as they move from month to month. The jobs report seldom meshes well with the unemployment figures. This swing looks like a measurement issue to me, and not a real change. And I definitely don't think it ever fell as low as a real 2.9%.

Visduh: The unemployment figures can be confusing because, for one thing, they are dependent on the size of the labor force. This tends to swell in June when school is out: teachers, students and educational aides go into the labor force. And there are always seasonal factors, such as the June rise in hospitality numbers.

I agree with you that this unemployment rate rise is not all that significant; I thought the job loss was not heavy. Did it ever go as low as 2.9 percent? Probably not.

As I have said many times, a better measure is personal income. It has been flat for the middle class for three decades -- decades in which the incomes of the richest few have utterly soared. Best, Don Bauder

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't those reported figures "seasonally adjusted?" And if they are, wouldn't the distortions you mention in your first paragraph have been adjusted out? As in, if every year the UE figure goes up by .8% from June to July, don't the statisticians reduce the figure by that amount, to keep the stats from jumping around? If they do, who can be sure they did it right? No, there are just too many questions about how these measurements are made to allow their unchallenged use.

Visduh: The numbers are seasonally adjusted, but that doesn't stop the California Employment Development Department, or the federal government, from reporting the way they do. I will have to check on this. Best, Don Bauder

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