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Labor Day Jobs Report Has Good and Bad News

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Labor Day is a good time to look at how jobs and the economy are doing. The nonpartisan California Budget Project has some good and bad news.

The annual Labor Day report on jobs and the economy from the nonpartisan California Budget Project has some good and bad news on the state of jobs in California.

Some good economic news is that California has some of its lost jobs back.

“The state has regained a number of jobs that were lost in the recession,” Luke Reidenbach, author of the report, said. “Between July 2007 and February 2010 the state lost a little over 1.3 million jobs and since then the state has regained a similar number of jobs.”

But those jobs don’t pay as much. According to the report middle and low-income workers earn less today than in 1979, when adjusted for inflation. And the number of low wageworkers has grown. Meanwhile top earners take in 17 percent more.

Reidenbach said in the report that this income inequality is contributes to the slow movement of the recovery.

“When wages do not grow, households may have to work additional hours in order to make ends meet.” Reidenbach wrote. “This could mean that more adults in a household must work or that those who were already employed work more hours than before.”

San Diego’s unemployment is at 6.5 percent. That’s less than Los Angeles which is at 8.4 percent, but not as low as San Francisco’s 4.7 percent.

Solutions offered in the report rang from government-subsidized day care to raising the minimum wage.

“The recent effort to increase local minimum wage as well as a statewide effort is a clear step in the right direction,” Reidenbach said. “San Diego is one of the many cities that’s going through these various minimum wage fights and the research that shows, that looks at the impact on businesses, shows a modest impact on their operating costs and on consumer prices.”

Anther key to earning more money is education. The report shows that college-educated workers have twice the earning potential.

KPBS' Alison St John, Amita Sharma and Marissa Cabrera contributed to the Midday and Evening Edition segments.


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