On Monday, March 18, the government released updated and revised employment data for all 50 states. The worst unemployment rates are found on both the West and East Coasts. On the West Coast, California's jobless rate remained at 9.8% for February for the second month in a row. Those weak numbers placed California in a tie with Rhode Island on the East Coast for the worst unemployment rate in the United States.
Slow growth expected
California plans to release county-by-county breakdowns regarding jobs on Friday, March 22. Economists predict slow growth for the state for 2013. In regards to California's jobless numbers, UCLA senior economist, Jerry Nickelsburg says:
"The Forecast's outlook calls for slow, steady but unexceptional economic growth in the current year, with gradually accelerating growth in the following two years."
California payroll job growth
While the news sounds dire, when looking at the big picture more complete statistics including payroll information and tax records show California and other Western states did better in job growth over the last 12 months than the rest of the U.S. This is due in part to a rebounding housing market, along with a strong energy sector, technology, and trade with Asia. In fact, California was second in payroll job growth from January 2012 to 2013. It added 286,100 positions with the biggest gains in leisure and hospitality followed by a jump in construction jobs.
"With that in mind, real personal income growth is forecast to be 1.4 percent in 2013, followed by 3.6 percent in 2014 and 3.3 percent in 2015. Unemployment will fall through 2013 and will average about 9.6 percent this year. In 2014, the unemployment rate is expected to fall to 8.4 percent and then to 7.2 percent in 2015." – Anderson Forecast
February hiring up for the U.S.
While California and Rhode Island still face high unemployment, hiring as a whole across the United States accelerated in February with employers adding 236,000 net new jobs compared to January's 119,000 jobs added in January. This brings the nation's unemployment rate down to 7.7% for February.