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State Contributes to Jobless Problem

June 18, 2003

Your June 14 article on job losses in California emphasizes the difficulties created by the collapse of the technology sector but only alludes to the more fundamental problem: Operating in California has become too costly for employers. Our state governmental leaders should look more closely at the conditions our public policies have created.

Workers' compensation insurance is a recently documented problem, but our minimum wage is higher than the federal level; disability laws set more liberal standards than the federal laws; the South Coast Air Quality Management District and other agencies put costly requirements on businesses; state wage and hour laws are inflexible; and income, sales and employment taxes are sky-high -- to identify a few of the issues.

In this mobile society, employers choose to create jobs in states that do not apply the expensive burdens California does. Until our government recognizes this problem and becomes aggressively proactive, we can continue to blame the economy or Washington, but eventually we must face the simple truth that the unfriendly environment created for employers, leading to low job creation and significant job losses, is of our own making.

John A. Goldsmith

Los Angeles

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California's unemployment rate is way above the 6.6% that the state says it is. The state counts only those receiving unemployment benefits, not those out of work. I know two computer engineers who have been job-hunting furiously for two years yet are not counted as unemployed because their benefits have run out. Get this: They are both in a state-sponsored program for the unemployed, yet not counted as unemployed.

Nobody knows what the unemployment rate is because the state is too lazy to count it properly. The true rate should compare the total possible workforce (working-age population minus the disabled, college students, military, early retirees and a few others) with the total actual workforce.

Raymond Freeman

Thousand Oaks

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