The recession has taken a firm hold, judging from the December unemployment for San Diego, which shot up to 7.4 percent from a revised November rate of 6.9 percent, according to a Jan. 23 report from the state’s Employment Development Department.
“This is the highest rate that we’ve recorded for December since 1990,” said EDD labor market analyst Barbara Ruehl. “Except for last year when it went up by a tenth of a percent, the unemployment rate always goes down in December.”
The biggest factor behind the higher unemployment was a huge drop-off in temporary hiring in the retail trade sector. Only 300 jobs were added during the month, compared to December 2007 when local retailers added 2,400 jobs for the Christmas shopping season.
San Diego’s 7.4 percent unemployment was the eighth lowest among the state’s 58 counties, with Marin the lowest at 5.4 percent and Imperial the highest at 22.6 percent.
California’s unemployment rate stood at 9.1 percent in December, the highest since 1993 when it got above 10 percent earlier that year. In 1993, San Diego’s unemployment got above 8 percent.
For all of 2008, San Diego’s overall net jobs declined for the first time since the early 1990s when the nation was in the midst of a severe recession. For the year, the region lost 18,400 nonfarm jobs.
The three industry segments showing the worst job declines were trade and transportation, which includes retail trade, with a net loss of 8,800 jobs; construction, down by 5,300 jobs; and financial activities, down by a net of 3,600 jobs.
On the plus side the two best segments showing a net jobs gain over the 12 months were education and health services, up by 3,100 jobs; and government, up by 700 jobs.
, Mike Allen