The regional recovery continues to be slow going. "Sluggish," the University of the Pacific's Business Forecasting Center called it earlier this month.
But one longtime local employment watcher said there is room for optimism.
"California is starting to pull out of this recession. We're starting to see a bit of revival in nearly every industry," said Kathy Masera, publisher of California Job Journal, which hosts HIREvent career fairs in Sacramento and Northern California.
Masera pointed to recent hiring plans by retailer Home Depot and other employers at Feb. 12's Sacramento HIREvent.
"At least they're talking about the growth they're going to have," she said.
California's unemployment rate remained 9.8 percent in December, the latest month for which data were available, according to the state Employment Development Department. California's jobless rate at the same time in 2011 was more than a point higher, at 11.2 percent.
As employers start to see recovery, "people are starting to make plans" to hire new employees. But Masera said employers' momentum was stalled in the fourth quarter by the fall presidential election, the winter holidays and the end-of-year "fiscal cliff" battle in Washington.
"You had three things it was the perfect storm," Masera said. "You might as well have thrown the (fourth) quarter out."
But nearing the end of the first quarter of 2013, employers are feeling more optimistic about the economy and their ability to hire.
She said that the optimism is filtering to job seekers.
"Morale is much better among job seekers," Masera said. "It's the first time in a few years that people are having hope again."
CSUS career day is Friday
The California State University, Sacramento, College of Engineering and Computer Science is preparing for its annual career day on Friday and says its students are more sought-after than they've been in several years.
"For the first time in four years, hiring is expected to be brisk, with strong demand across all technical disciplines," said Cici Mattiuzzi, the college's director of career services.
Representatives from more than 80 engineering and engineering-related firms are expected to attend the event, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University Union Ballroom on the Sacramento State campus, 6000 J St.
Students can also attend seminars at the event throughout the day, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information, call Mattiuzzi at the College of Engineering and Computer Science at (916) 278-7091, or visit career.ecs.csus.edu.
Rancho library offers help
Job seekers can find one-on-one help with their employment search Tuesdays at the Sacramento Public Library's Rancho Cordova branch, 9845 Folsom Blvd.
The library's JobNow database is also available. The database provides links to employment websites and résumé information.
For more information and to schedule an appointment, contact the library's job coach at email@example.com.
Let us hear from you
Is your company hiring? Is your organization hosting a career fair? Is your campus rolling out a job-skills program? Contact Job Front at firstname.lastname@example.org.