CA jobless down, but state faces competition

CA jobless down, but state faces competition

apple think differentCalifornia took pride this week in the staggering news of Apple Inc.’s record quarterly earnings. And the state unemployment rate dropped in December to 7 percent, down from 7.2 percent in November — a vast improvement over the 12 percent of 2010 and 2012.

But a glance to the future — and behind the numbers — shows the state economy faces numerous question marks. Among the 50 states on the new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, California now is second-worst, behind only Mississippi at 7.2 percent. “Better than Mississippi!” would not make a great slogan.

Since the Great Recession, Nevada and Rhode Island have suffered unemployment even worse than California’s. But for December, both posted 6.8 percent jobless rates.

Not to mention the rate of California’s top competitor: Texas at 4.6 percent.

There also are some worrisome details about California. “Most of the December 0.2 percentage-point drop was from more people leaving the group that is ‘actively seeking work,'” Richard Rider told; he’s the chairman of San Diego Taxfighters. “We can see this in the fact that during this rather dramatic drop, only 700 net new jobs were created in a state of over 38,800,000 people.”

He added that today more people than in the past are working part-time, “yet we count anyone working as little as 1 hour a week as ’employed.'”

He pointed to a new report from Advisor Perspectives, a publication for investment advisors. Looking at national numbers provided by the BLS, it found:

“The Labor Department has been collecting this since 1968, a time when only 13.5 percent of U.S. employees were part-timers. That number peaked at 20.1 percent in January 2010. The latest data point, approaching five years later, is only modestly lower at 18.7 percent last month. If the pre-recession percentage is a recovery target, we still have a long way to go.”


Again looking to the future, California is facing increasing competition for businesses and jobs from other states. Writing yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, Heritage Foundation Chief Economist Stephen Moore looked at the trend for tax cutting:

“as many as 20 Republican governors are moving forward with their own pro-growth tax-relief initiatives. This is on top of the 14 states, including Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, whose 2014 tax cuts will take effect this year.”

So that’s 34 states cutting taxes — even as California continues under the the $7 billion tax increase of Proposition 30, which voters passed in 2012. It boosted the state’s top income tax rate to 13.3 percent, the highest of any state.

Even depressed Mississippi is getting into the act. Reported Mississippi Public Broadcasting on Jan. 22, “Governor Phil Bryant is calling for a tax cut for thousands Mississippi families. Bryant addressed a joint session of the Mississippi Legislature last night for his state of the state address.”

Rider, who has been analyzing California tax policy for decades, gave his perspective. “States are cutting taxes because they understand economic competition,” he said. “The evidence is overwhelming that lower taxes and more reasonable regulation results in more jobs and a more prosperous state. California leadership is still in denial of this Economics 101 reality.”

He also pointed to a fact sheet he compiled of state per-capita GDP numbers. California’s nominal number in 2012 was 18th highest of the 50 states and D.C., at $46,029 per capita.

But when cost-of-living is taken into account, it dropped to 39th, at $36,215.

Blue-state tax cuts

Moore points out that even Blue States are getting into the tax-cutting act: “In Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts — three blue states that elected Republican governors in November — tax rates are likely to fall to provide juice and jobs for local economies.”

If Mississippi cuts taxes and unemployment drops fast, California could be left holding the bag of the worst unemployment rate among the states.

Rider believes things will change in California only after a crisis. “Meaningful reform will come only out of necessity, not from some change of heart,” he said. “It will take years before we reach that point — we are not in a collapse — just a stately decline.”


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  1. Desmond
    Desmond 30 January, 2015, 18:33

    Taxes in California will continue to go up, despite what is described. This is truly a state run by the Socialist party. After Brown leaves, the socialists will be the moderates. Why do you think Obama plans to live here, of course in the worker’s paradise of Palm Springs? Kind of like his Dacha on the Black sea..

    Reply this comment
  2. Queeg
    Queeg 30 January, 2015, 23:34

    Not socialist. Progressives like their assets and free speech except for doomers, poor, minorities and religious.

    In socialism Comrades everyone is equal.

    Reply this comment
  3. Ted the Wet Sprocket-like Africanized Swarm
    Ted the Wet Sprocket-like Africanized Swarm 31 January, 2015, 11:51

    You like to beef our President and Gov when the econ news is bad
    and NEVER praise them when we see good news…

    what gives with you folks?
    Are you so hopelessly biased that you have no value out here?

    your Mentor–Teddy

    Reply this comment
  4. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 31 January, 2015, 19:17

    LOL, Ted! So, in your mind, it’s GOOD news that CA is ONLY the 2nd worst state for employment??? Better only than “Deliverance” Mississippi? It’s good news when most of our “improving” unemployment rate is from people dropping out of the work force — that too few net new jobs are being created?

    THAT’s the good news you think we should be praising?????

    Awesome assertion Ted! Many thanks for so ably playing the Fool. Do you have to practice, or does it just come naturally for you?

    Reply this comment
    • Ted Steele, Janitor
      Ted Steele, Janitor 31 January, 2015, 20:36


      It still stands—- you doomers are a broken record— ANY positive news is greeted as bad—- you make me laugh!

      There are so many positive economic indicators —- enjoy your denial!

      Reply this comment
      • Richard Rider
        Richard Rider 1 February, 2015, 00:11

        Ted, LOL!! “So many positive economic indicators.” And yet you can’t name ONE, let alone provide a reference. And certainly you name nothing that fairly compares CA’s economic status vs. the other states.

        I realize that, as a progressive, you LOVE high unemployment as that makes more voters dependent on government. It’s not just ill-advised liberal policies at play here — it’s progressive RECRUITING policies.

        THAT’s why you don’t want to admit to the fact that CA is extreme anti-employment. After all, you LOVE it! You’ve got yours, and screw everybody else. I get that.

        You make me laugh. Your denial says it all.

        Reply this comment
        • Ted
          Ted 2 February, 2015, 13:03

          Are u kidding dick?

          Stock mkt
          Retail sales
          Building permits
          Housing mkt
          New biz startups

          All leaders little buddy
          Get real

          Reply this comment
          • Richard Rider
            Richard Rider 2 February, 2015, 13:25

            LOL, Teddy! Your usual vapid responses. At least you are consistent. What does California have to do with the stock market recovery??

            ALL your items listed are meaningless — as you spout topics while making no comparison of CA with the other states in ANY of these topics. A smart decision on your part! You know as well as I do that CA is an economic basket case compared to most other states.

            And the LAST thing you would care about is jobs for working folk. Compassionate progressive? Uh huh.

            You got nothin’ bro. Can’t you come up with ANYTHING concrete? ANYTHING????

            Guess not.

          • Ted Steele, CEO
            Ted Steele, CEO 2 February, 2015, 22:06

            LOL Ricardo R-

            You are probably right. Californians don’t buy or trade securities. Or live in an economy that has houses or retail sales. You’re brilliant Richy!

            Oh my you’re a fun-doomer ™

            Carry on!

          • Richard Rider
            Richard Rider 2 February, 2015, 22:55

            LOL Ted!! Naming categories of the economy does not demonstrate that CA is doing well. Might as well be talking about Mississippi! Wait, only Mississippi is worse than CA. But after all, avoiding actual numbers is your only option. As you know, concrete facts work against you.

            For instance — “new biz startups” is a sign of booming CA economy??? REALLY??? How about business FAILURES???

            In 2012, our supply of California businesses shrunk 5.2%. In ONE year. NOTE: That’s a NET figure – 5.2% fewer businesses in CA in 2012 than were here in 2011. Indeed, in 2012, CA lost businesses at a 67.7% higher rate than the 2nd worst state!

            Carry on!

          • Ted The Wonderful
            Ted The Wonderful 3 February, 2015, 15:41

            LOL Ricardo R-
            You are probably right. Californians don’t buy or trade securities. Or live in an economy that has houses or retail sales. You’re brilliant Richy!
            Oh my you’re a fun-doomer ™
            Carry on!

          • Ted The Wonderful
            Ted The Wonderful 3 February, 2015, 15:45

            Stock mkt
            Retail sales
            Building permits
            Housing mkt
            New biz startups

            Leaders and laggers little buddy— do you know what that means?

            You don’t need me to cut n paste the answer for you little buddy do ya?

            Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Come on Dick!

          • Ted The Wonderful
            Ted The Wonderful 3 February, 2015, 15:49


            Don’t read this link it will bum u doomers out!


          • Richard Rider
            Richard Rider 4 February, 2015, 08:10

            LOL Teddy! Pathetic.

            Obviously YOU didn’t — ya know — actually READ your own linked article. Or more likely, didn’t understand it. Or even MORE likely, assumed just posting a link somehow would make you appear smart.

            It didn’t. You’re not.

            The article says Southern California (not CALIFORNIA) construction has increased from the bottom of the recession. Big whoop. That’s no indication of a booming economy — nor does it compare the recovery with OTHER states. Of course, you don’t WANT to compare CA with the other states — you’re just desperate to claim our economy is booming.

            From the report of the December CA state unemployment figures (the number of state jobs increased that month by a NET 700 jobs):

            “Largest growth sector was 8,300 jobs in Leisure and Hospitality (average annual wage $23,950); largest decline sector was 12,300 jobs in construction (average annual wage $57,100).”

            The article you cite also warns of expected workers’ comp rate increases this year in CA. Consider this:

            California ALREADY has the highest and therefore the worst [workers’ comp] rates in the nation. And worst by a significant amount. California rates average 21.3% higher than the second highest state (Connecticut). California rates are 188% of the median state. We were “only” third worst in 2012, but have since raced to the bottom.

            Workers comp is a BIG cost for an employer — bigger than the state’s corporate income tax (if any). California’s workers’ comp comes to a 3.48% levy on the average employer’s payroll — the percent varies dramatically depending on the occupations insured. Major business savings can be found by moving one’s business to any state that’s not California.

            Naturally liberals would argue that “you get what you pay for,” that California takes better care of its workers, so that’s why the rates are so high. But that’s the odd part: These high rates are AFTER California supposedly dramatically reformed its runaway workers’ comp program under the Schwarzenegger administration. Turns out the reform didn’t work at all.


  5. desmond
    desmond 1 February, 2015, 06:22

    Describing Sacramento govt democrats as progressive is Newspeak. We are seeing more of it, Middle Class Economics is the new one. It is what used to be a fish tale, BS is the proper term.

    Reply this comment
  6. Ronald Stein
    Ronald Stein 1 February, 2015, 06:52

    Numbers don’t lie but liars can figure. Yes, our employment numbers are up, but those reporting those great numbers don’t bother highlighting that most are in the food service and hospitality sectors. The public focus is diverted to those not making enough on minimum wages, i.e., those in the food service and hospitality sectors, and the crusade is to RAISE the minimum wage! Rather than heal the wounds resulting from constant attacks on businesses that are driving out many high wage positions and driving up the costs for those that remain in California, the easy way out is to apply a “band aid” on the wound rather than heal the wound. But wait, the unintended consequence associated with the upcoming minimum wage increases will be a great way to incentivize kids to drop out of school. Imagine the carrot of a huge minimum wage of a $25 to 30,000 a year minimum wage as a reward for no higher education. These kids will also be netting more than those on fixed income Social Security. It may be better to stop beating up on businesses with over regulations, over taxation, and uncontrollable “fees” that are slight inconveniences to those making the big bucks, but the California financially challenged will continue to disproportionally pick up the costs “camouflaged” at businesses.

    Reply this comment

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