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Western America jobless rate passes 10%

THE housing bust sent the unemployment rate in western United States bolting past 10 percent in May - the first time in more than 25 years that a region of the US has suffered double-digit joblessness.

A Labor Department report released last Friday showed the region absorbing the worst of the recession. California, Nevada and Oregon saw heavy job losses in construction, manufacturing and tourism.

The region has been pounded as it was the epicenter of the housing boom that shrank. As home values fell, the area lost jobs and wealth.

Western America "is where houses are being abandoned most quickly because it has the largest percentage of the population under water - owing more on their houses than they're worth," said Robert Reich, a university professor.


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