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Barstow's unemployment rate dips 0.8 percent

BARSTOW • Barstow resident Vincent Hernandez, 32, spends at least five hours every day hunting for a job in retail management.


Hernandez is among Barstow’s 1,600 people unemployed, according to figures Friday from the California Employment Development Department.


“The job market itself has dwindled in how many opportunities are there,” he said. “And trying to find a job is very frustrating, time consuming and it is draining on my energy.”
However, there are signs the job market in Barstow is showing signs of recovery. The unemployment rate fell from 15.5 percent in July to 14.7 percent last month.


The overall unemployment rate in Riverside and San Bernardino counties also declined, from 12.3 percent last month to 12.7 percent in July.


August’s unemployment figures for Barstow were higher than San Bernardino County’s unemployment rate of 11.8 percent and the state’s 10.4 percent. The unemployment rate was 8.2 percent across the nation.


Hernandez has been searching for full-time work since May. He volunteers at the nonprofit organization Desert Manna, where he assists Barstow’s unemployed with their job search.
“I have 10 years of retail management experience and if I can’t even get a job in fast food. It just shows that it is a bad economy,” he said.


The job market is tough for unemployed in Barstow for those who lack the training and expertise in technical areas, said Ken Eaves, dean of Workforce and Economic Development at Barstow Community College.


“There are very few large employers other than the railroad, Fort Irwin and the Marine base,” Eaves said. “Those require soft skills. You pretty much have to have a clean background to get hired and pass a drug test.”


Some employers are still hiring, Eaves said.


“We just got an email the other day looking for 30 construction laborers,” he said. “As soon as we get notices for these jobs, we send them out to people who have gone through the training.”

CONTACT THE WRITER: (760) 256-4126 or dlee@desertdispatch.com


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