Job seekers line up for an employment fair in Los Angeles. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Healthy national employment gains are a good sign for California says Robert Kleinhenz, the chief economist of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation’s Kyser Center for Economic Research.

But Kleinhenz cautions it could still take two to four years to see the unemployment rate at a normal level. The national jobless rate dropped to 8.3 percent from 8.5 percent in December. California’s December Unemployment rate was 11.1 percent. But Kleinhenz says that’s not surprising.

“Our unemployment rate through thick and thin is generally higher than for the nation as a whole,” he says. “But we have seen the unemployment rate for the state come down, and it’s probably going to come down at a rate similar to what we see for the nation.”

Kleinhenz says pockets of the state have fared better than others.

“The Bay Area has actually led the state due in part to the tech-based activity here,” Kleinhenz says.

The nation added an average of 200,000 jobs per month over the last three months. And Kleinhenz says the state’s job gains are on par with national job gains.

And they’re apparently good jobs according to Stephen Levy, Director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto.

“This is a really good jobs report,” says Levy, pointing to big gains in sectors such as manufacturing, construction and professional services.

“All high paying, permanent jobs” he says. There were also increases in part time and temp agency jobs, but not disproportionate to the rest of the economy. And Levy says temp jobs in Silicon Valley are usually a precursor to permanent hires. And although low wage jobs are part of the mix, Levy says they’re not a significant part of this recent growth pattern.

Author

Peter Jon Shuler

Since Peter Jon Shuler joined KQED Radio in 1990, he has covered everything from the beginnings of the World Wide Web to the dot-com bust, from preserving Silicon Valley's open space to the preservation of historic Valley landmarks. Peter caught the radio bug at WAUS-FM while still a student at Andrews University in his home town of Berrien Springs, Michigan. He did local news and hosted a classical music program. Since then, he has pursued a variety of assignments, including production work at WBAI in New York and broadcasting to the English language community of Geneva, Switzerland via Radio 74.

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