It's no secret the recession hit the Golden State harder than most. But recent good news on the jobs front shows California's economic recovery may be among the strongest in the nation.
Employment figures released late last week indicate California added 38,000 new jobs in June. Combined with the 45,900 new jobs created in May, the state was responsible for about half of all job growth in the entire country over the past two months.
While the overall employment picture still looks fairly bleak--California's 10.7 percent unemployment rate is the third-highest in the nation--the industries adding the most jobs are relatively high-paying ones such as the tech and professional sectors.
"The idea that California is a lagging economy being passed by in comparison to other states can now, hopefully, be put to rest,” Economist Steve Levy told HealthyCal.org. "Tech, trade, tourism, a strong agricultural sector and the stirrings of a construction recovery give hope for the near and long term future."
This same level of job growth was not matched elsewhere in the county. Employers across America only created 80,000 jobs in June, and the state's two percent job growth since June of last year far outpaced the national average of 1.4 percent.
Much of this expansion has to do with California starting out in a deeper hole than the rest of the country: Over a million of the state's residents lost their jobs due to the recession, and many of them aren't reflected in the unemployment rate because they've simply given up looking for work.
As such, several economists aren't ready to trumpeting the state's economic recovery. "You’re seeing broad-based hiring, and that really is good news," Esmael Adibi, the director of the A. Gary Anderson Center at Chapman University explained to the Los Angeles Times. "Of course, the problem is the unemployment, which hasn't gone down as much."
Nearly two million Californians are still unemployed.
The high, persistent unemployment rate is largely due to the bursting of the sub-prime mortgage bubble, which decimated a formerly surging construction sector.
And the newfound recovery is affecting different parts of the state in different ways. San Francisco, for example, saw an increase in unemployment between May and June.
Also in the Bay Area, San Francisco's rate reached 7.8 percent from 7.4 percent in May.
The highest Bay Area unemployment rate was in Solano County with 10.5 percent. This is up from 10.1 percent unemployed in May.
The nation's overall jobless rate in June was 8.2 percent.