Riverside and San Bernardino counties (the two sprawling counties that make up Southern California's Inland Empire) now have the country's highest unemployment rate, tipping in at a robust 9.1%. To be fair, The Detroit suburbs had the second highest, and Michigan overall is worse off than California overall.
The Inland Empire is one area where public works projects could help immensely. The downturn in the construction industry has contributed greatly to area unemployment. There is, however, a fantastic opportunity here. If the goverment were to invest in public works projects (say, I don't know, mass transit, bridge and road repair, solar / wind energy [this is the desert out here, after all]), they would find a large number of willing, experienced, and trained workers. Win-Win.
Seriously, that would be better than another $700 check.
Here is a graphic tracking the rise in unemployment to the male suicide rate, via The Economist's View (one of the economic blogs I've been reading to try to figure out what the hell all of this stuff means).