Despite a surge in hiring last month, UCLA economists still expect 2013 to be a year of moderate growth.
The UCLA Anderson Forecast, released today, says California and the nation will continue to plod along for the balance of the year, with growth picking up in 2014 and 2015.
"The economy is slowly beginning to ramp up," wrote senior economist David Shulman, assessing the national outlook. But "the acceleration will be more of a 2014 event."
In California, that translates into modest expansion in the job market this year, with more encouraging results in the years to come. Statewide unemployment ended 2012 at 9.8 percent but is expected to fall only slightly this year, to an average of 9.6 percent, wrote senior economist Jerry Nickelsburg.
The state unemployment rate will average 8.4 percent next year, Nickelsburg said.
Strong hiring at the national level in February drove the U.S. unemployment rate to 7.7 percent, the lowest level in four years.
Nonetheless, the U.S. economy continues to face considerable "headwinds" from the European recession, the $85 billion in federal spending cuts and other factors, the UCLA group wrote. As a result, growth in California will remain modest.
Call The Bee's Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.