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Job and relief agencies are in demand

Jackson Bell

The most recent unemployment numbers in Burbank show a slight

decline from previous months, although the city anticipates that

positive direction will head south again.

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“We’re expecting a lot more [residents to be out of work] in

January because people either had seasonal jobs that are ending or

they took a break from their job searching during the holiday season

and are ready to start looking again,” Burbank Economic Development

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Manager Yvette Ulloa said.

According to the California Employment Development Department,

Burbank’s unemployment rate was at 4% in November -- the department’s

most recent statistic -- compared to 5.5% in Glendale and 5.8%

throughout Los Angeles County. California’s jobless rate is 6.3%,

while the nation is at 5.8%.

Burbank’s rate was down from 4.2% in October.

In the past six months, various agencies like the Workforce

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Connection, a free job-resource center that Ulloa heads, and the

Burbank Temporary Aid Center, an organization providing short-term

emergency needs like food and shelter, have noticed an astronomical

increase in demand for their services.

Pat Smola, the director of BTAC, has seen a jump from five

requests a week for their services to five a day. Ulloa said the

Task- force Connection has increased from 100 monthly visitors when

it opened in December 2001 to more than 800.

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“Nothing is more humiliating to someone than to not have any money

coming in,” Smola said.

Ulloa credits the city government for heavily supporting local

business -- especially the city manager’s office for easing the loss

of jobs when Lockheed Corp. left -- and fostering the city’s

entertainment industry.

“I think Burbank is a very strong community that has been able to

transform itself through the times,” she said.

Ulloa also said that judging unemployment in the city referred to

as the “media capital of the world” is sometimes a dubious task. The

reason is that an estimated 25% to 30% of Taskforce Connection users

are contracted entertainment- industry workers who, by nature of

their occupation, are employed from project to project, leaving them

out of work for short spurts.


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