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California unemployment rate drops to single digits in November: 9.8%

For the first time since the beginning of the Great Recession, the unemployment rate in California dropped below 10% last month, to 9.8%. The last time that the unemployment rate in California was below 10% was in January 2009, when unemployment was at 9.7%! The Employment Development Department reported the drop yesterday, from 10.1% unemployment in October.

According to

The improvement, led by a surge in technology jobs that have spurred a wave of new construction, comes as something of a surprise. Leading economists had predicted that California’s unemployment rate would remain in double digits through 2013.

That is just another reason that economics is known as “the dismal scieence” – the dismal predictions by so-called “experts.” 😉

The number of unemployed Californians dropped to 1.8 million, also the lowest number in nearly four years. The state has added more than 564,000 nonfarm payroll jobs since the economic recovery began in 2010.

“The job gains have been fairly widespread,” said economist Jerry Nickelsburg, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. “We’re finally seeing an increase in construction, particularly single-family housing.”

Although California has one of the nation’s fastest-growing economies, its unemployment rate still lags behind the average for the U.S. as a whole: 7.7% says:

About 14.4 million Californians were working last month, and the recovery varied significantly across the state. Imperial County had a whopping 26.6 percent unemployment rate, while rates in many inland counties remained in the double digits.

Expansion in high-paying technology jobs helped the San Francisco Bay Area remain the state’s growth leader, said Stephen Levy, a senior economist at the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.

The unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in Marin County, while San Francisco and San Mateo counties hovered above 6 percent.

The information sector, meanwhile, showed the biggest percentage gain in jobs over the last year, up nearly 6 percent. <emphasis mine>

Growth in San Diego County also has been strong, Levy said. Los Angeles County and others nearby also have joined the recovery, while the Central Valley is slowly regrouping.

Moronic behavior in national government, particularly with regard to addressing the fiscal cliff, could halt the rapid recovery now seen in California.

Without a deal, automatic spending cuts will slash local government budgets and raise tax rates for workers as the nation struggles to get over the effects of the Great Recession. Also, unemployment benefits for 400,000 Californians would expire next month without an agreement from Congress and the president.

Brinksmanship and the refusal to compromise, particularly by House Republicans, threatens California’s recovery, that of the U.S.,  and that of the entire world.

Let’s hope that they “wise up” very soon.

-Bill at

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