Only 5% of Laid-Off Californians Have Found New Jobs

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California State flagCalifornia this year has gained back just 5.4% of the jobs it lost during the recession. Increased hiring in the temporary workforce and in industries such as retail and tourism have barely made a dent in a state hit by far larger job cuts in print media and telecommunications, according to the UCLA Anderson Forecast's third-quarter presentation this week.

About 70,000 new jobs have been created in the most populous U.S. state through the first six months of the year, compared to the 1.3 million during the two years leading up to the end of 2009, the Anderson report said. About a sixth of this year's new jobs were in temporary staffing, with smaller gains in industries such as retail, education and logistics, said Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist at the UCLA Anderson Forecast, in a presentation in Los Angeles on Sept. 15.

"It's barely perceptible growth, and that's still a problem," said Nickelsburg. "We have a long way to go."

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With California's approximately 37 million residents accounting for about 12% of the U.S. population, the state's economic challenges -- many of them created by prerecession residential overbuilding and the resulting absence of housing construction over the next few years -- both reflect and are a cause of a U.S. recovery that will take longer than previous rebounds, according to the Forecast.

Granted, California is showing faint signs of growth. Many of the temp jobs created during this year's first half were transferred into more permanent positions in June and July. Additionally, increasing U.S. exports have pushed shipping activity in Los Angeles and Oakland back to prerecession levels, benefitting the nearby logistics industry.

Still, California's unemployment rate, which is about two percentage points above the country's 10% rate, will decline slowly. Nickelsburg estimated that the state's unemployment rate will remain above 10% until well into 2012.

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