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Thursday, July 18, 2024

California’s Economy Has Been Pinched by Unemployment

U.S.California’s Economy Has Been Pinched by Unemployment

Tech layoffs. Hollywood strikes. Rural joblessness.

For much of the past year, key parts of the California economy have looked a lot like our winter weather: dreary.

While the state’s economy has long outpaced the economies of most nations, the unemployment rate in California has risen significantly over the past year — a topic I explored in a recent article about California’s economic outlook.

The state’s 5.1 percent unemployment rate in December was a percentage point higher than a year earlier, and well above the national rate of 3.7 percent. The only state faring worse than California was Nevada, at 5.3 percent, according to recently revised figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

(The national rate rose to 3.9 percent in February; state-by-state figures for January and February aren’t available yet.)

California’s unemployment rate is usually above the U.S. average because of its young and fast-growing work force, but in the early part of the pandemic recovery, the gap was smaller — 4 percent in California in May 2022, compared with 3.6 percent in the nation.

Since then, a wave of deep cuts has hit workers at several big tech companies, and entertainment-related employers have only slowly begun to rebound from the Hollywood strikes last year. The unemployment rate in Los Angeles County is around 5 percent.

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