Unemployment in California Climbs to 10.5 Percent In February

Even California, the land of high-tech and innovation, cannot weather this storm. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that unemployment rose to 10.5 percent in February.

The state unemployment rate jumped to 10.5 percent in February, a level not seen since 1983. All told, the recent economic slide has left 1.95 million Californians scrambling for work.

Friday's report from the Employment Development Department charts a sharp rise from January's 10.1 percent rate and brings the state closer to its modern peak of 11 percent, which occurred in late 1982 and early 1983.

The U.S. unemployment rate for February was 8.1 percent. During the Great Depression, unemployment got as high as 25 percent.

January numbers showed California at 10.1 percent unemployment, one of four states with that number higher than 10 percent. (Michigan, Rhode Island, and South Carolina are the others.) Growth in the 1990s was driven, in large part, by the California led tech boom, and California has generally been on the leading edge of the nation's economic activity. High unemployment in heavy manufacturing driven states was how people understood this recession, but these numbers from California mean something different is afoot.

Of course, California's housing market has been hit especially hard, and then there's this