Today the California Employment Development Department revealed, unsurpringly, that San Diego’s job losses have been severe. The latest update included a revision to last year’s data, which painted a bleaker picture of recent months than had previous releases. (This is also unsurprising, given some of the statistical jiggering that takes place with the job numbers).

The graph below shows the year-over-year rate of change for the three hard-hit sectors related to housing, as well as the rest of the economy and all sectors combined. Remember, this is a rate of change graph. So if a line turns up but is still below zero, as in the case of finance, that means that the sector in question is still shrinking, but just not as quickly as before. And if a line is below zero but flat, as in construction, that means that the sector is still losing jobs, but is doing so at a steady rate.

Here’s a graph with the same data, but in terms of percentage instead of the number of jobs lost:

The San Diego economy as a whole lost 28,000 jobs between January 2008 and January 2009, according to these estimates. That is a contraction of 2.2 percent.

Unemployment, meanwhile, shot up to 8.6 percent. This just happens to be exactly as bad as it ever got during the region’s long bust in the early 1990s. This next graph displays the unemployment rates for the past three recessions starting at the respective recession onsets:

We haven’t passed the 1990s unemployment peak yet — but we’ve gotten there a whole lot faster this time around.

— RICH TOSCANO

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