California’s Job Picture Gets Brighter
Just a few years ago, California was hemorrhaging tens of thousands of jobs and had one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.
But on Friday the Golden State reached a turning point: Helped by a recovering housing market, its jobless rate plunged to 8.6% in May, down from 9% in April and the lowest level in nearly five years. The improved economy has cut the number of unemployed Californians to 1.5 million from a peak of 2.3 million in 2010.
Economists said the latest batch of government data showed the state is creating jobs faster than the labor force is growing, a sign of true strengthening in the labor market. Some previous dips in the unemployment rate were the result of discouraged job seekers dropping out of the workforce.
“California is making a big comeback,” said Esmael Adibi, a Chapman University economist. “That’s why you see such a sharp drop in the unemployment rate.”
The state’s employers added 10,800 employees to their payrolls in May, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department. Nearly all industries added workers, led by the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 9,000 jobs, mainly at hotels and restaurants.