California's labor woes continue

The state sets a new record for unemployment. But don't worry Michigan, you're still number one.

Published September 18, 2009 3:53PM (EDT)

The opening line of the the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics release on state unemployment puts the best possible spin on the numbers.

Regional and state unemployment rates were generally little changed in August.

OK, but: "Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia reported over-the-month unemployment rate increases."

California's unemployment rate, for example, rose from 11.9 to 12.2 percent, a new record since state numbers started getting tabulated. And Michigan still triumphs over all with a 15.2 percent unemployment rate, up from 15 percent.

Still a long way from Great Depression numbers, but when you start rising over 15 percent in a major industrial state, and 1 in 8 people are unemployed in one of the largest economies of the world -- California's -- that's just not trivial.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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California How The World Works Unemployment U.s. Economy