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Richard Rider

Latest deceptive CA unemployment figures — and WHY they are deceiving

Here’s how deceiving our unemployment figures can be:
1.  The California unemployment rate in December dropped a dramatic .2% in one month — from 7.2% to 7.0%. That is an IMPRESSIVE improvement. Except . . .
2.  Number of net jobs added in California that month — a state with over 38,800,000 people: 700. No, I didn’t leave out a zero or two — SEVEN HUNDRED.
Yes, a statistically insignificant 700 net jobs added, yet our state unemployment rate dropped a full two-tenths of a percent. How can this be?

You know the answer by now: Our lower unemployment rate for December is almost 100% due to people no longer looking for work, leaving the state, or retiring (a.k.a. the lower “labor force participation rate”) — even after counting the young adults entering the CA work force marketplace.

Here’s another unnerving aspect to consider: Our CA jobs grew by 700. But the jobs gained too often were low paying service jobs, while the jobs lost paid far more.

From the same report:
“Largest growth sector was 8,300 jobs in Leisure & Hospitality (average annual wage $23,950); largest decline sector was 12,300 jobs in construction (average annual wage $57,100).”

Meanwhile our CA state and local taxpayer obligations for unfunded government liabilities is growing at a LOT faster rate. THAT is not sustainable.

NOTE: My source is the California Center for Jobs and the Economy (an email I received just now). The site is run by the eternally optimistic California Business Roundtable. But the report is so new that it’s not yet up on their website: