A smokey summer makes for dark skies, but recent jobs reports are anything but gloomy. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows California has recovered every job lost during the Great Recession.

The federal agency reports that only Florida surpassed the Golden State’s growth in June. State Employment Development Department figures show 24,000 new jobs in June.

(Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey Michael)

(Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey Michael)

The Capital Region added 22,500 jobs in the past year – 8,400 in June, according to EDD. Despite the boost, unemployment jumped from May’s historic low, 6.7 percent, to 6.9 percent.

Some of this growth indicates recovery and some reflects seasonal trends, says Jeffrey Michael, Business Forecasting Center Director at UOP Eberhardt School of Business. Graduates hit the workforce in June; they count as unemployed until hired.

“The decrease [in May’s unemployment] is more than normal and reflects a recovery that is gaining strength,” Michael said via email.

What’s needed to sustain this recovery?

“Sacramento needs to achieve stability in the housing market, which means rents and prices are affordable to most residents and aligned with local income, but rents and prices are also high enough to support a somewhat higher level of new housing construction. The region needs to continue efforts to diversify its economic base.”

Construction grew 7 percent from May 2013 to May 2014. Who is building?

“Construction was crushed in the great recession. Thus, the 7-percent growth is not as impressive as it appears given the low bottom. There has been a modest increase in residential and commercial development, and there should be further increases in the coming years. I expect construction job growth will exceed 10 percent in 2015 and 2016.”

What is the regional forecast?

“The most recent improvement is because the two traditional pillars of the Sacramento economy, government and development, have switched from being a negative to growing jobs again. We expect growth in government jobs to remain modest, but there is a lot more growth to come in the construction recovery.”

“Health care has been a solid growth sector for Sacramento throughout the recession, especially in suburban areas. It is more than simply growth in health care providers for the local population; the Sacramento area is adding jobs with health insurers and administration of health care systems and is emerging as a center for the business and administrative aspects of health care provision.”

Carol Terracina-Hartman is a freelance writer based in Sacramento. She covers all things environment. In 2012, she received the Outstanding Service Award from the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. See her work at Examiner.com.


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