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Anderson Forecast Predicts Job Growth In Golden State

Aired 6/20/12 on KPBS News.

The rate of job creation in California will exceed the nation as a whole over the coming two years, according to UCLA's Anderson Forecast of the economy.

— In recent years, California's jobless rate has been two to three percentage points higher than the nation as a whole. But the UCLA Anderson Forecast of the economy predicts that will change.

The forecast says steady job growth in California will bring the the state's unemployment rate in line with the national average by the end of 2014, when it predicts California's jobless rate will be 7.7 percent.

Jerry Nickelsburg, a senior economist with the Anderson Forecast, said 400,000 people have entered the California job market since the recession began, and that has made the state's unemployment rate higher than average. But now the state is seeing job growth nearly across the board.

"It's being driven by our technology sectors all up and down California," said Nickelsburg. "But we're adding jobs in nearly every sector except for construction and government."

But Nickelsburg said the picture nationwide is not as good. Job creation will continue to be sluggish in the wake of the great recession. The Anderson Forecast reports it could take up to eight years for U.S. payrolls to return to their pre-recession levels. Full recovery, following a recession, has typically taken only two years.

The structural problems with the U.S. economy were masked, in recent years, by the effects of the recent housing bubble and the high-tech bubble of the late 1990s.

Nickelsburg said now the U.S. must face the true challenge of a transforming American economy, and the burden lies on our education system.

"We need to transform our education system," he said. " Something has to give if we can't improve the way we prepare people for 21st century jobs."

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