California Job Tracker
By Lynn Reaser
California reached the final four, with the state's year-over-year job growth outperforming the nation for four consecutive years (48 months) as of February. Its job growth is running about a full percentage point above that of the country as a whole (2.8% vs. 1.9%).
The state demonstrated its strong momentum in February, bucking the headwinds from a declining stock market and strains on the global market in the first half of the month. California has added more than 800,000 jobs compared with the prior peak reached in July 2007.
California's healing job market is also evident in terms of its unemployment rate. The jobless rate moved down to 5.5% in February from January's 5.7% even as more people entered the job market. The jobless rate is down markedly from 6.7% just a year ago.
Nearly all of the major regions of the state are participating in the economic expansion. As of February, 25 of the state�s 29 metropolitan areas had fully recovered from the job losses of the recession. These 25 areas represent 97% of the total job count. The only four metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) that have not recovered are Hanford-Corcoran, Redding, Oxnard-Ventura-Thousand Oaks, and Yuba City.
The technology boom in Northern California has put Santa Clara County and San Francisco at the lead in terms of job growth since the recovery began. While recent numbers indicate some cooling of job growth in those areas, sizable gains continue. Other regions, such as San Diego and Los Angeles, are recording solid increases.
The recent rebound in stock prices and boost in commodity prices should reduce some of the risks weighing on confidence earlier in the year. As a result, California is well positioned to make further gains as 2016 proceeds.
California's Recovery Deepens and Widens
Percent Change in Jobs from Pre-Recession Peaks
See raw data: Employment numbers by region.
Lynn Reaser is chair of the treasurer’s Council of Economic Advisors and chief economist at the Fermanian Business and Economic Institute for Point Loma Nazarene University. The opinions in this article are presented in the spirit of spurring discussion and reflect those of the author and not necessarily the treasurer, his office or the State of California.