H-SANTA MARIA

Sep 2, 2011 9:11 PM by Ariel Wesler

Labor Day redefined for local job seekers

Unemployment remained flat last month, spelling more bad news for the nation's economy.

The jobless rate stayed at 9.1 percent in August and no new jobs were added. 14 million people across the country are out of work. Six million of them have been without jobs for at least six months. California's unemployment rate sits at 12 percent, the 2nd highest in the country. Here on the Central Coast, 34,000 people don't have a job and for many of them, Labor Day has new meaning.

Today's report is the worst in about a year. It's a clear sign employers have cut back on hiring and reduced hours for those who do have jobs. To make matters worse, the federal government lowered its job growth numbers for July from 117,000 to 85,000. It also said employers only added 20,000 jobs, not 46,000 as previously reported.

"There's not much to celebrate really when you see the challenges out there and the struggles that people are going through," said Sandra Santana of Nipomo.

"It's just another day to try and find work actually. If I can do some side work with a buddy of mine, then that's what I'll be doing," said Jerry Ross of Orcutt.

The economy has added an average of just 35,000 jobs a month for the past three months. To put that in perspective, an average of 180,000 jobs were added each month during the first part of the year.

A lot of people are hoping for some relief and some answers from President Obama. He is expected to propose a job plan when he addresses Congress and the nation next Thursday.

The latest *local jobless numbers are due out later this month.

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