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California Jobs Growing 50% Faster than U.S.

California construction job (Greg Younger / Flickr / CC)
Greg Younger / Flickr / CC
Newport Beach, CA

California employers added 41,200 new jobs in the month of October, as the Golden State’s employment production continues at a 50 percent higher pace than the nation as a whole.

California suffered by far the worst job losses of any state during the Great Recession, with the official unemployment rate reaching 2,230,714, or about 12.4 percent, in February 2010. As a result of the miserable economic crash, California still holds two thorny crowns, with the City of Los Angeles ranked as “America’s Poorest Big City.” The state is also home to the 22 worst- ranked small towns in America.

The 2008 “Great Recession” is only partially to blame for the deep and protracted recession California suffered. Median wages over the last decade dropped by 6.2 percent in California, compared to a 1.9 percent decline for the U.S. overall, according to census data analyzed by the California Budget & Policy Center.

But in a state where Democrats maintain total political control by claiming they are fighting income inequality, the wages of the top 10 percent of California earners increased 4.8 percent, much faster than the increase of 2.6 percent for the nation, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.

The California unemployment decline, calculated from a federal statewide survey of 5,500 households, has been 271,000 since October 2014 and 1,135,985 to 1,094,729 since its February 2010 peak. On a percentage basis, unemployment fell from 7.2 percent to 5.8 percent over the last twelve months, according to the California Employment Development Department.

The San Francisco Bay Area has been accounting for disproportionate 40 percent of the state’s job gains. San Mateo County now has the lowest number of unemployed workers in the state, at 3.2 percent in October. Marin County was second lowest at 3.3 percent, and San Francisco had the third lowest at 3.4 percent.

The UCLA Anderson Forecast had projected that California employment would grow faster than the United States with growth of 2.5 percent this year, 2.1 percent next year, and 1.3 percent in 2017. But jobs have been growing in the state at +2.9 percent, about twice the national average of +1.8 percent.

Despite media stories about the Silicon Valley tech boom, California has fallen to only tenth in Forbes 2015 list of the states with the fastest growing tech jobs. The economic expansion is actually being driven by California’s sizzling construction industry, where employment has been growing this year by 7.3%.

William Yu, an economist with the UCLA Anderson Forecast, commented on the EDD press release, “If you are in high tech, if you work for Uber, Google, Apple, you are doing much better. But if you are just a traditional worker, you don’t really feel it. You don’t see your wages or income growing as fast as housing prices.”


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