July’s jobs report released August 1st showed unemployment increased nationwide, surprising some analysts who studied stats on jobless claims. Others say the numbers of “jobless” still include those newly minted degree-holders who are hired, not working yet or pursuing academia.

Bank of the West Chief Economist and Senior Vice President Scott Anderson, Ph.D., tracks these trends. He publishes weekly U.S. Outlook report on Bank of the West’s blog.

(Photo Courtesy of Scott Anderson, Ph.D.)

(Photo Courtesy of Scott Anderson, Ph.D.)

He offered four observations using Bureau of Labor statistics:

  • July created 209,000 jobs
  • Manufacturing jobs jumped 28,000+
  • Construction ramped up a net 22,000
  • Labor force participation improved to 62.9 percent from 62.8, suggesting some long-time unemployed back at work

Locally, Anderson and other analysts expect a continued upswing in construction, leisure and other traditional labor sectors for the Capitol Region. Anderson’s recent California Economic Outlook report highlights the fact that Sacramento has created nearly two-thirds of jobs in the Central Valley.

“This pace of job creation in Sacramento is well above the state and national average over the past year,” Anderson said via email.

Anderson says new grads face a more promising market than recent years. “Most will find jobs in the private services sector:  health care and social assistance, education, professional, scientific and technical jobs, as well as state government,” he said.

While consumer and business spending remain critical for economic recovery, Anderson predicts Sacramento to lead Central Valley growth the next two years now that the economic drag of government job loss has ended.

“Solid job gains in state government, professional and business services, health care, trade and transportation will be main drivers of Sacramento’s economy. Construction will continue to advance at a healthy pace as residential and non-residential investment improves on the strengthening economy and continued in-migration to the Sacramento metro area,” Anderson said. “Sacramento’s unemployment rate, which is still above normal, is expected to continue to decline at a moderate pace, somewhat closing the gap with the nation and the state.”

Perhaps the biggest threat is California’s Achilles’ heel: mother nature.

“The ongoing California drought will have some negative economic impacts on surrounding communities, especially in farming and ag-related industries, but Sacramento’s economy will see few measurable impacts this year,” he said.

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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