– Related Video: California Forward’s video report “Looking for work in California’s new jobs reality.” –
The mayor of a Southern California city says that job creation is the top priority for the California Legislature. Highland Mayor Larry McCallon wrote an opinion piece in Thursday’s Los Angeles Daily News that argued expanded job opportunities for Californians must be given primary attention, especially since the economic recovery has lagged in some parts of the state, like San Bernardino County.
Mayor McCallon, who also serves with the Southern California Association of Governments (known as “SCAG”) also called for support of modernization of CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act), more investment in infrastructure and other policies that he thinks will create a better job environment in the Golden State. He lays out SCAG’s entire list of state legislative priorities for 2013 which are focused improving the economy and creating jobs.
Mayor McCallon’s comments echo some of the seven Signature Initiatives that were promoted by the first California Economic Summit, held last year in Santa Clara. Progress is already being made on many of those Initiatives, which you can view here.
While California has actually led the nation in job creation overall in the past year, our unemployment rate still hovers around 10 percent, and some regions like the Silicon Valley are doing better while others like the Inland Empire, where Mayor McCallon serves, are struggling.
Meanwhile, another mixed bag was the national jobs report released today. December’s unemployment rate stayed put at 7.8 percent, with 155,000 jobs added. No surprise: Healthcare made the biggest gains, adding 45,000 jobs. Construction and manufacturing added 30,000 and 25,000, respectively. Unfortunately, the number of discouraged workers in December was set at 1.1 million, about the same number as the previous December.
Among those discouraged workers were a growing number of Latinos. Although the number of Latinos employed grew and unemployed dropped in 2012, the Monthly Latino Employment Report (PDF) from NCLR points out the number of Latino workers not in the labor force grew last year almost as much as the number of Latino workers in the labor force grew.
Lastly, the so-called “fiscal cliff” legislation that was passed in Washington this week has California leaders breathing a sigh of relief, for now.
H.D. Palmer, the finance spokesman for Governor Brown, told the AP’s Judy Lin that, while the Congressional action was welcome, there is still concern about what is going to happen in the next couple of months.
Palmer fears the two-month delay on the sequestration cuts could lead California businesses to delay hiring until the uncertainty about federal spending lifts.
So, it seems 2013 began where 2012 left off, with uncertainty and sluggish growth. But we look forward to talking to people around the state and taking action leading up to this year’s Economic Summit.