Where California is adding jobs and where it can add more

150 150 Ed Coghlan

(photo credit: US Army Corps of Engineers) 

One of the applause lines in Governor Brown’s State of the State message on Wednesday was that California has added one million jobs since 2010. California has led the nation in job creation in recent months.

Jobs are still being created, albeit at a little slower rate. In December, the state added another 13,600 non-farm payroll jobs. The unemployment rate is 8.3 percent.

By the way, if you were wondering where the best cities are for job seekers in California, read this. Most, but not all of them are in the San Francisco Bay Area, but areas of Sacramento, Orange County and San Diego are mentioned too.

And if you’re looking for a job in the Administrative Support or Leisure and Hospitality industries, you’re in a better position than previous years. Those sectors added 9,000 and 7,800 jobs last month, respectively. The recovery of people’s disposable income and increasing international tourism has been especially good for the L&H sector here in California.

Another topic garnering more attention these days is infrastructure. Governor Brown, in his State of the State address, put a number on it: “$65 billion needed to maintain and keep our roads, buildings and other infrastructure in sound repair.”

With studies that show, for every dollar spent on infrastructure investment, output goes up by two dollars, that means more jobs in construction and related industries.

I have a sister, an attorney in San Francisco, who was on Facebook the other night growling about all the street maintenance in San Francisco, which started an interesting digital discussion on street repair, water mains and other infrastructure needs among her friends (including her brother). Their consensus: Fix it and we’ll pay for it.

Not sure that’s any indication of how people in the state feel, but the improving economy and the balanced state budget has folks talking about our infrastructure. This thoughtful editorial in the Riverside Press Enterprise argues that the state needs to ends its patchwork approach to infrastructure and think about some long-term fixes.

The discussion of crumbling roads and the need for a comprehensive strategy is not new for California Economic Summit participants. Reviewing the governor’s budget, there are clear intersections on policies with the Summit’s goals, along with infrastructure investment, one of the Summit’s strategic initiatives that must be addressed in order to increase middle-class job creation in the state and ensure the state’s ability to continue to compete in the global economy.

The Summit is looking for ways to increase innovation and competitiveness by delivering a modern infrastructure for California citizens and businesses. That means thinking new and smarter, like developing new procurement processes and financing tools to enable accelerated project development that will create jobs and protect our environment.

Whether it’s my sister in San Francisco, my son in San Diego or any of the rest of us, Californians frustrated with an infrastructure that has not kept up with growth. That’s why the Summit wants to address state-level bottlenecks so that cities, counties and regions can have more investment options and increase flexibility in how they solve the problems.


Ed Coghlan

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