The state unemployment numbers for July were just released, and it is a pretty mixed bag. Overall, the rate is stagnant at 12.3%, but there are small rays of hope.
The state’s unemployment rate remained constant at 12.3%. … Many of the jobs cuts were in the government sector as temporary census jobs ended, according to a release from the state Employment Development Department. Private sector employers added 13,700 jobs to payrolls. Still, the state lost jobs in the manufacturing, leisure and professional and business services sector. (LA Times)
The census cuts were expected, and the fact that the census was done cheaper and faster than ever before is a credit to the Commerce Department, and the folks who worked themselves out of a job. The billion dollars that the census was under budget will now go to other programs in the federal government.
But the other thing to notice is that the regional economies in the state are quite different. The Bay Area remains the strongest, with Marin County having the lowest unemployment rate followed closely by several other Bay Area Counties. Los Angeles is a worrisome 13.4%, but Santa Barbara and a few other coastal counties are doing better, but you check out the full list by county here (h/t to SF Weekly).
Meanwhile, the crisis seems to show no signs of letting up in other parts of the state. Imperial County’s 30%+ unemployment is simply shocking, followed by upper teens in several other Central Valley counties.
This is where it becomes appropriate to mention just how critical it is to defeat Prop 23. The promise of green jobs shines most brightly in communities where land is cheaper with abundant helpings of wind and sun. Imperial County would be a particularly devastated by the loss of green jobs with the failure to implement AB 32.
What is also clear is that now is not the time to further exacerbate the problem by laying off 40,000 valuable state workers. While we are always forced to make tough decisions in a rough economy, austerity measures will harm the economy far more than many of the revenue measures that have been proposed. We can’t simply go down the path of cut, cut, cut without expecting such negative reactions. We cannot sacrifice our public sector without damaging the long-term stability of our economy.