The whole truth about California’s employment picture

link times;”>By Joel Fox
Republished with permission by Cal
drugs times;”>News on the economy appears good with new national numbers on economic growth released and polls measuring the attitudes about the job market ticking up. However, in California some troubling job numbers don’t get the attention they deserve.Unemployment line depression

While quarterly economic growth numbers showed the fastest growth rate in a decade and a recent Gallup poll found 36 percent of respondents said it was a good time to find a job, compared to just 30 percent a month ago, a report on California from researchers at the Public Policy Institute pointed out some troubling numbers on the employment front.

While California’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.4 percent to 7.2 percent over the past year, PPIC researchers Monica Bandy and Sarah Bohn note the unemployment rate does not account for California adults who are underemployed, working part-time when they prefer full time employment, and those who have stopped looking for work  discouraged because they lack skills for the jobs available or cannot find jobs.

The researchers suggest that, when these areas are considered, California’s un- and under-employment number is actually 15.4 percent, or 8.2 percentage points above the official unemployment rate.

According to the blog post Bandy and Bohn wrote for the PPIC site:

“While California’s economy is improving, the recovery has not been strong or fast enough to keep up with the growth in California’s working-age population. Additionally, the recovery has been uneven across sectors and metro areas, and the unemployment rate is still higher than it was before the recession began. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, California has the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation — only Mississippi and the District of Columbia have higher rates. In numerical terms, 1.35 million Californians are looking for work — and more than 35% of them have been looking for at least six months.”

Understanding the full situation of the job market and those who want to work is important to move the legislature toward reducing barriers to job creation in the Golden State.

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