The unemployment rate in Riverside and San Bernardino counties' metropolitan areas reached a new high in July, climbing to 15.1% from a revised 14.4% in June. A year earlier it was 14.3%.
The unemployment rate in Orange County ticked up as well, reaching 9.8% from a revised 9.5% in June.
The jobs picture was only slightly better in the Bay Area. In tech-heavy Santa Clara County, the unemployment rate reached 11.5%, up from 11.4% in June but below July 2009's rate of 11.7%. That county added 1,800 manufacturing jobs. In the San Francisco metropolitan area, the unemployment rate was 9.4%, barely changed from June's rate of 9.3%.
In Los Angeles County, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 12.4% from a revised 12.2% in June. Employers jettisoned 37,400 jobs in July, with the biggest losses in the government sector. The educational services sector, which has been relatively immune to big cuts, lost 4,900 jobs, and the healthcare and social assistance sector lost 2,200.
The unemployment rate increased in all but seven counties in July, but the state's rate remained flat because its data is seasonally adjusted and accounts for summer job losses in the education sector.
Laura Velard, 56, has been out of work since January 2008. The Los Angeles resident has two decades of experience as an administrative assistant, but she's looking for a job in any sector that's hiring. She has run out of unemployment benefits and lives with her mother.
She said she goes to a career center at least twice a week and checks Craigslist constantly. No one has work for her.
"I have no gas money, all my bills are on hold," she said. "What am I supposed to do?"