Here’s an unsettling thought: We have been comparing CA unemployment with the national average. But what we SHOULD be comparing is CA vs. the average of the other 49 states.
This distinction is important. California holds about 12% of the entire nation’s population, and thus materially impacts the national average figure.
Consider the latest employment figures for the month of April, 2011. If you take California’s dismal 11.9% unemployment number out of the national average, the average for the other 49 states is not the 9.0% national average, but rather 8.6%.
BOTTOM LINE: In actual percentages, the CA unemployment rate is a full 3.3% higher than the average for the other 49 states. In terms of percentage difference, that makes CA unemployment on average 38.4% higher than the other states.