Is California’s economy on the rebound?

150 150 Ed Coghlan

The state is adding jobs at a faster rate than the nation at large (Photo Credit: koolb)

News that the California unemployment rate in February dropped to 9.6 percent is promising for the Golden State. Over 41,000 jobs were added, including nearly 6,000 in the state’s long suffering and critically important construction sector.

Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics, agreed that the general economic trend is positive, with February’s numbers representing a more-consistent signal now that the seasonal holiday months are behind us.

The improvement is too slow for many Californians, particularly those that are looking for work, but the trend seems clear.

“California is on pace to outperform the nation in job growth in 2013 with a continuing painfully slow decline in the unemployment rates, which is true for the nation as well,” said Steve Levy of The Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy.

The state has added nearly 300,000 jobs over the past twelve months, and is adding jobs at a rate higher than the national average.

When you look into the numbers, some of the regions of California that have struggled during the recovery are starting to see measurable improvement.

In fact, Levy says that Southern California is now a “full participant” in job recovery with 12-month gains of 89,000 jobs in Los Angeles, 35,000 jobs in Orange County and a revival in the long suffering Inland Empire which gained nearly 28,000 jobs.

As has been the case, the San Francisco Bay Area–particularly the San Francisco and San Jose metropolitan areas–continue to lead the state in job growth.

These improving job numbers will be one topic of discussion at the 16 Regional Economic Forums that will be held across California beginning this month. San Diego will kick things off on April 10.

These meetings will be exploring progress that is being made from the work at the California Economic Summit where seven Signature Initiatives have been identified as keys to improving job creation and the state’s ability to compete. Progress on those initiatives can be seen here.

In addition, regional economic leaders will be exploring new areas that might be identified to continue the economic improvement in the state.

Their ideas will be brought to the California Economic Summit’s 2013 session which takes place this November in Los Angeles.

In the meantime, a continuing recovery in the construction industry and a revival in California housing can mean that the state’s jobless rate may continue to drop. And that would be good news for every region. 


Ed Coghlan

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