Job fair in Los Angeles (Photo Credit: John Guenther)
With the slew of economic numbers released every month for the state and the country, it can be hard to slog through them to find the most significant ones.
However, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation’s 2013-2014 Mid-Year Economic Forecast is full of such figures, and that, combined with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ release this week of their state employment report leaves us with enough to offer a solid take on the state of California’s economy. By extension, it tells us what is currently working in California, and how our state can better build on progress made and boost job creation and the competitiveness of the state, the goals of the California Economic Summit, sponsored and hosted by California Forward.
The top line is “Things are improving.” The LAEDC report stresses the slow but steady growth in private sector jobs for the remainder of 2013, and it’s expected to truly take off in 2014. Last year’s unemployment rate was 10.5 percent, but 2014 is anticipated to see an unemployment rate as low as 8.7 percent. Still too high, but far better than the dark days of 2010 not long ago and dropping faster than the total U.S. unemployment rate. Housing and construction are up, elements key to a California comeback.
These numbers are augmented by Bureau of Labor Statistics report: “the largest over-the-month increases in employment occurred in California (+30,200).” Not only that, but the report indiciates that fifteen states “had statistically significant unemployment rate changes from June 2012, all of which were declines. The largest of these occurred in California (-2.1 percentage points).” California only came in behind Texas in year-over-year job increases.
Of concern, though, is the impact of sequestration on the California economy. The LAEDC report stresses the possibility of the budget cuts stagnating California’s growth, elongating a recovery that Californians are desperate to complete. Some risks to our recovery remain outside of our control. The report also points at the economic problems in Europe and slow growth among our trading partners as things that could factor in to a slower turnaround.
To best facilitate as speedy a recovery as possible, the California Economic Summit’s two-year quest to identify things we can do regionally to improve our state keeps rolling on. After 16 regional forums across the state, Action Teams are now taking over priorities from the forums and putting them into action. The second annual statewide Summit is set to open in Los Angeles on November 7 and 8, and it should turn into a key footnote in the history of our state’s recovery.