Of the top 10 metropolitan areas in the country with the highest unemployment rates, nine are in California. The other is in Yuma, Ariz., a town that borders the Golden State.
In these areas, most major sources of jobs have taken a hit in the economic downturn. Construction jobs, plentiful during the boom years, have dried up as fewer new homes are built. At the same time, those would-be construction workers are competing with farm workers for agricultural jobs that have also been cut back due to a severe water shortage in the state.
The state government’s budget troubles have led to layoffs for tens of thousands of workers. Some industrial plants, facing lagging sales, have closed up shop or cut hundreds of jobs.