Calif. Job Growth Up, But Future Depends on Washington and World Economy

PALO ALTO, Calif.--Job growth improved in California during the past two months.

The state added 11,800 jobs in September, and the previously reported loss of 8,400 jobs in August was revised upward to a gain 21,100.

The unemployment rate fell slightly from 12.1 percent to 11.9 percent, putting California—with the second highest unemployment rate in the United States--in the half of all states that saw a decline in September.

During the past year major sectors saw a rebound in job growth with construction adding 23,000 and manufacturing posting a 15,800 increase. The standout sector was professional and business services with a gain of 78,000 jobs, and the information sector adding 21,800 jobs, for a five percent gain led by Internet-related sectors.

The economy continues to be led by technology and trade with a beginning uptick in tourism.

California had an increase in exports for the 22nd consecutive month.

While these results only begin to recover the jobs lost during the recession, California is now outpacing the nation in job growth, so fears that everyone is leaving the state are contradicted by the data.

California saw an increase of 250,000 jobs during the past year (1.8 percent) though September’s results overstate the strength of the economy, as they are compared to a poor September 2010.

State job growth is concentrated in the urban coastal markets with the largest percentage gains in Silicon Valley (3.1 percent) and San Diego (1.4 percent). Gains were moderate in the San Francisco and Orange County metro areas. Los Angeles County is finally seeing job growth with an increase of 31,400 jobs (0.8 percent) over the past 12 months.

Although California has begun to recover, led by the traditional growth leaders in technology and trade, further near-term progress will depend on national policy decisions and world economic conditions, both of which remain uncertain today.

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