Employment in California sinks to record low

In more troubling economic news, a recent report released by the Sacramento-based California Budget Project stated that the percentage of working-age Californians with jobs has reached a new record low, and that employment levels may not fully recover until the second half of this decade.

According to the report, only 55.4% of working-age Californians (defined as those 16 and older) had a job in July, down nearly a percent from last year and at the lowest level since 1976. With a 12 percent unemployment rate this summer, California has the second highest rate of unemployment in the nation.

But in another startling figure, the research group reports that women have trailed men in regaining jobs lost when the recession hit in 2008. In a phone interview with Bloomberg, the California Budget Project’s deputy director, Alissa Anderson, said:

     “Women represent nearly half of the workforce. They gained just one of the 10 jobs added [gained back in California since 2008].”

Women aren’t the only minority disproportionately affected by the recession and bleak job prospects. I reported last summer that:

     “while white males in the United States had a 9.5% unemployment rate for July, black males experienced a whopping 17.8% unemployment rate, nearly twice that of their white counterparts.”

Job prospects for Americans are bad right now. In California, they’re worse. For California’s women and black men, they’re the worst.

This is also bad news for California’s budget. This July, CAIVN’s Bob Morris reported that California’s most recent state budget will only balance on the assumption of sustained economic recovery and growth, a prospect that is looking more and more unlikely, as the recent jobs report indicates.

So just what can California do to balance its budget? Perhaps it could stop focusing on the budget so much and start focusing on growth. California policymakers need to focus on a comprehensive strategy to reform and improve California’s business climate in order to attract more companies that create high-paying jobs. Economic growth is what will create jobs, expand state revenues, and improve the standard of living for California’s residents.