US jobs numbers sluggish, California economy out-pacing national growth

150 150 Ed Coghlan

(photo credit: James Lee)

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a four-year low of 7.4 percent last month, but no one seems too excited about it. The economy added only about 160,000 non-farm jobs.

In California, the momentum has been much more bullish (we’ll get our July unemployment report on August 16). In June, the state’s unemployment rate had dropped to 8.5 percent and again California led the nation in new total jobs being created.

Topping it off, California is projected to outrun the national economy the next two years. The state’s economic output should hit 3 percent this year and 4 percent in 2014 while the U.S. overall could stay flat, according to a recent report by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.

The report that Boeing is actually returning high-paying engineering jobs to California (see our reaction story here) continues the trend of positive announcements and developments about the state’s economy.

“It’s gratifying to see a company like Boeing expanding on its existing presence in Southern California,” said Kish Rajan, director of the state’s GO-Biz office, “a place where they’ve been a part of the local aerospace blueprint for many years.”

“This is great news,” said Doug Henton, chairman & CEO, Collaborative Economics and Advancing Manufacturing Action Team Leader for the California Economic Summit. “Boeing is a large company but it needs suppliers, particularly the electronic industry. So part of that is the infrastructure that exists in Southern California. It’s one of the reasons I think Boeing can expand here. So it’s not just Boeing but smaller companies and sub-contractors that make that possible.”

The California Economic Summit has finalized its Signature Initiatives for the big meeting in November in Los Angeles. The initiatives include Infrastructure, Workforce Development and Advancing Manufacturing.

For those of you that don’t know the California Economic Summit is really not an event but a process that has generated discussion and recommendations in 16 separate meetings this year across California. Action Teams are being formed to put some recommendations for action that can occur at the state and local level in order to create more middle class jobs in California and improve the state’s ability to compete in the global economy.

Let’s go back to Workforce Development for a moment. Did you know that there are over 200,000 available jobsin California right now? I spoke recently with the owner of a Los Angeles firm that manufactures parts for aviation and he told me his number one challenge isn’t finding new business—he’s doing very well there.

“My biggest challenge is finding qualified workers and then my second biggest challenge is keeping them because there aren’t enough people trained to do the job,” he said (the owner declined to let us use his name).

The state’s economy is definitely on the rebound. To make sure we help keeping it going in the right direction is what the Economic Summit is designed to do.

Continuing the collaboration of California Forward and the California Stewardship Network, the 2013 California Economic Summit will build through five stages that will culminate in policy initiatives to advance the state’s triple bottom line: a prosperous economy, a sustainable environment and community equity.


Ed Coghlan

All stories by: Ed Coghlan