Forecast predicts slow, steady economic growth

Published: Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013 - 7:06 am

California’s economy is in for more of the steady, unspectacular growth the state has experienced the past few years, according to a new forecast.

The latest UCLA Anderson Forecast, released today , says California can expected a continued fall in unemployment in the coming years, with the Sacramento region and the rest of the Central Valley still lagging the more prosperous coastal regions.

Overall, the state continues to outperform the national economy, with job growth of 2.8 percent over the past 12 months, and the gap between the U.S. and California unemployment rates has been cut in half to 1.4 percent.

But UCLA senior economist Jerry Nickelsburg said beating the U.S. economy doesn’t count for much.

“All of this good news is relative,” he writes. “The U.S. is not just underperforming, it is barely keeping ahead of population growth.”

California unemployment stood at 8.7 percent in July, the latest statistics available. Nickelsburg says it will fall to an average 7.9 percent next year and 6.9 percent in 2015.

He says the state’s so-called “bifurcated recovery” will persist, with inland California not doing nearly as well as the tech-oriented coastal cities.

“The pace of recovery in inland California is flat to negative as the job gains in the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento Delta region and Inland Empire are at best just keeping up with estimated population growth,” he writes.

Sacramento’s unemployment rate was 8.9 percent in July.

The economic recovery is also split along classes of skills. While high-tech workers and other skilled employees are seeing significant job gains, only the leisure and hospitality sector of the economy is generating “significant net new jobs to the semi-skilled part of the work force,” he writes.

Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler

Read more articles by Dale Kasler

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