California has added nearly 300,000 jobs in the last year. The unemployment rate for August dropped to 10.6 percent, down a tick from July, and down over a point since it peaked at nearly 12 percent last year.
It might not be the news you were expecting, but look at it this way, California is making some gains, albeit minuscule. And because of those small gains, the state is now in a group of states that have all seen big fall-offs in joblessness since last August.
There’s plenty of evidence that the California economy is picking up speed, led by the high-tech sector. Normally, of course, out of a recession you’d expect housing to be contributing much more to the recovery. That hasn’t happened this time because housing was at the core of the meltdown. But data on housing and construction over the past few months indicates that sales are improving and that prices are also regaining momentum. There’s even some evidence that a price bubble may be forming in California, due to a lack of housing inventory. There aren’t enough existing homes to meet demand, and new home construction has been held back by economic uncertainty.
The state is moving at a snail’s pace, but we must be patient.
The California Economic Summit Workforce Preparation Action Team has been working with many others on how to improve job creation in California, and is making progress on a number of fronts. The Action Team has been working to prioritize workforce training resources to support the growth of major regional industry sectors. California, which as we all know is a huge state, has a series of regional economies that have different drivers. But in each region, there is a need for more qualified workers. While progress is being accomplished, changes can’t happen overnight. Thus, unemployment is still stubbornly high in the Golden State.
Chief Economist for the Los Angeles Economic Development Council, Dr. Robert Kleinhenz, took a look at today’s unemployment report and shared some of the highlights with California Forward’s Cheryl Getuzia.