Help Wanted for the Unemployed

Jobless Claims Increase, but Not Everyone is Feeling the Effects

Close to 4,000,000 Americans are looking for jobs.  513,000 of them filed new jobless claims last week.  According to the labor department today, that's the most in a single week since just after the September 11th attacks.

The national unemployment rate is at 6.5%, and here in San Diego it may be even worse.  "I think we're gonna be close to 7% here in San Diego County," said USD Economics Professor Alan Gin.

Gin says not only is San Diego suffering more than most, but it has been for awhile.  He says the housing market fallout hit here before other places triggering what is now a surge in layoffs around the county.

This week, Carlsbad based Upper Deck announced it's cutting 50 workers.  Amylin Pharmaceuticals announced plans to layoff 340 workers this week.  Still, there are bright spots in this dark economic forecast.

"We're hiring, not laying people off right now," said Terry Hirsch, CEO of software provider Weaver Security.  The company is finishing up its move into a new office overlooking downtown San Diego.  And those empty offices will soon be filled.  Hirsch said the company currently has about 50 employees, but plans to triple in size over the next year, including 25 new jobs at its San Diego offices.

The company estimates it'll bring about 2500 customers a year from all over the world to San Diego for Software training, and that's good for the neighborhood.  They estimate it'll bring about $10 million dollars into the local economy.

Other industries faring well right now in the county include health care, research, and hospitality, said Professor Gin.

Still, he says no-one is immune to what looks more and more like a recession.  Gin says even those prospering now could see a change of luck as venture capital dries up.  And he says, we're still months away from seeing any sort of turnaround.

"I think we're going to have a weak economy through at least the first half of 2009," he says.

But he also points out because San Diego was one of the first to get hurt, it could be one of the first to heal.

"That's probably the good news.  We'll probably pull out of this before everybody else does."

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