A Bit of Good News
Original post made by stephen levy on Dec 17, 2011
The best news is that the unemployment rate fell to 11.3% from 12.5% a year ago. The number of unemployed residents dropped by more than 200,000 over the past year though 2 million residents are still unemployed.
And, unlike the nation where people dropped out of the labor force in November, California's unemployment rate drop occurred while the labor force increased.
The California story is still a tale of two economiesby geography and by industry.
Job growth remains centered in the urban coastal regions and in the technology, trade and tourism sectors. The San Jose and San Diego metro areas lead the large employment centers in percentage job gains. The San Francisco Area is close behind.
These areas are seeing a flurry of start-ups, IPOs coming to market, expanding exports and a rising level of optimism about the future. In the high tech centers of the Bay Area, vacancy rates are falling, rents are rising and new commercial building can be seen again.
Unemployment rates in the Bay Area are declining though still high by historical standards. The November unemployment rate for Santa Clara County was 9.1% down from 10.9% a year ago; 7.5% in San Mateo County down from 8.6% and 7.8% in San Framcisco down from 9.6%.
November did see the beginnings of job recovery in areas that had been lagging including the Sacramento region, the East Bay in the Bay Area, the Riverside-San Bernardino area and selected central valley counties.
The strong job growth sectors are a mixture of high wage jobs in professional, scientific and information services, and jobs in health services, food services and retail trade where more seasonal workers than normal were hired in November.
Manufacturing and construction lost jobs in November reversing earlier gains.
Job growth in November was modest (6,600) according to the payroll survey with an additional 11,900 jobs added to the October total. However, the household survey, which fluctuates from month to month but does include self-employed workers, recorded a gain of more than 100,000 jobs.
In contrast to the defense cut recession in the early 1990s and ther dot.com bust recession after 2000, this recession was caused more by temporary factors (the loss of 600,000 jobs related to the construction downturn) rather than permanent losses in the state's economic base. Technology, trade and tourism are on the upswing again and the recovery is ever so slowly broadening to other sectors except housing.
California has reached record export levels and the state captures 50% of national VC funding.
November's good news is tempered by the realization that there are still 1 million jobs to recover in California from before the recession and that the process of recovery is underway but still much slower than hoped for or needed.
And political gridlock in the state and nation together with economic turmoil and a likely recession in Europe provide headwinds for the state's now expanding economy.
on Dec 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm
"The November unemployment rate for Santa Clara County was 9.1% down from 10.9% a year ago"
How does this break out? Which jobs are coming back, and which are lagging?
on Dec 18, 2011 at 10:08 am
With all due respect Mr. Levy, please get real! The improvement in both California's and the nation's unemployment rate or job additions during November, is because of the retail hiring done for the "commercialized" Christmas season. Nothing has really changed. By the end of January 2012, most of those temporary retail jobs will disappear, and the jobless rate will inch up yet, again. This nation has been in severe economic turmoil since the end of 2007, and there has been no significant improvement, despite you and other economic forecasters trying to "spin" much to do about nothing, over trivial percentage movements. For most struggling Americans, and that is the majority of Americans, the personal recession of day to day struggle never ended, depite the so call economic experts stating there was an official end to the recession in 2009. This nation, and major states like California have the largest numbers of non-working adults since the depression. The only work sector of the U.S. society that is improving employment wise, are those fortunate enough to work in technology related fields. Technology is the most prosperous area of the economy. Unfortunately, not everyone can secure employment in the technology sector due to lack of skills, and/or the domination of the field by younger workers, to the exclusion of older workers who have the skills. Fortunately, it takes more to make a well rounded economy - like construction, education, manufacturing, services, etc, and hence, a well rounded nation. No one can doubt that our nation is going through an economic metamorphis, and we are re-evaluating what we can and need to be in order for all Americans to succeed personally, and economically. We are definetly not there yet! More people have commented to me recently that this is their third consecutive holiday season where they cannot afford to even celebrate the season, yet they are merely happy to have made it through another year with a roof over their head, and the ability to eat everyday. Currently, most people in this nation are just concerned about the bottom of Maslow's pryamid -basic needs, and how to survive. So, don't get too wrapped up in the miniscule "temporary" job gains. Systemic improvements need to occur in order for there to be real improvement in the overall economy, and real and lasting job growth. Happy Holidays!
on Dec 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm
stephen levy is a registered user.
The strongest job gains in November were in seasonal retail hiring that was above normal.
However, in the previous two months the state saw a gain of 75,000 jobs and in the past 12 months a gain of 230,000 jobs of which only 10% were in retail.
It is also true that a large share of the job gains in Silicon Valley were in technology sectors.
However throughout the state and in Silcion Valley there were gains in health services, restaurants, construction, wholesale trade, business services and private education as well as gains in technology sectors.
In Silicon Valley there was an uptick in computer and electronics manufacturing although statewide manufacturing job levels were flat.
Siliocn Valley is the leading large metro area in terms of job growth over the past year (+3.3%) and San Francisco is also above average.
The local recovery is only now starting to spread beyond technology. On the other hand when Google, Facebook, Apple and other firms expand they do not hire only technology workers.
There are, as I said, still 2 million Californians who are unemployed--the "normal" amount would be just under 1 million and as the previous poster said, there is still lots of misery to go around.
Still, I think it is fair to say that the past few months have brought a bit of good news on the economy and especially so for our local economy where the many and diverse technology sectors are the leading drivers of growth.
This week Facebook will have moved to larger quarters on the way to adding several thousand jobs over the next 3 years.
The good news does not negate anyone's personal struggle in this economy but, on the other hand, it does bring a sign of more hope for the future.