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Unemployment in California hits post-World War II high

Los Angeles Times

By Alana Semuels

Saturday, August 22, 2009

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Last month, 805,000 California Latinos were jobless. That's up 127% over the last two years. The number of unemployed whites in the state grew 103% over the same period, while the number of out-of-work African Americans rose 66%.

"You really begin to see desperate times for lots of Latino families throughout California," said Vince Vasquez, a senior policy analyst with the National University System Institute for Policy Research.

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The recession has been particularly hard on less-educated Californians. People without a high school diploma had a 16.8% unemployment rate in June compared with a 10.8% unemployment rate in June 2008.

That's plagued the region's Latinos, many of whom have less schooling, fewer linguistic skills and spottier community connections than people who have lived in the country for generations, policy analyst Vasquez said.

"It's about where you went to school, it's about having relationships, and those are the things that really affect Latinos in a situation like this," he said.