California Unemployment Rate Hits Record Low

California unemployment rate hits record low

It's getting hard to find good help in California and it's all thanks to the state's record low unemployment. 

Employment Development Department Spokeswoman Loree Levy said the state's rate fell to 4.3 percent in February, down again from another record set in January. 

"Things continue to look really well in terms of the unemployment rate and in terms of jobs. We had another month with job gains, this time with 14,000 jobs gained in February and that marks the 20th straight month of job gains," Levy said. 

The number of Californians holding jobs went up in February, to more than 18.5 million. The number of unemployed totaled around 843,000 last month, down 9,000 from January. 

Colusa County held the distinction of having the highest unemployment rate at 20 percent (non-seasonally adjusted). San Mateo County, the heart of Silicon Valley, can boast the lowest unemployment rate at 2.4 percent. 

All in all, Levy said, most job industries in California were performing very well in terms of demand. 

"We saw great gains when you look at educational and house services. Over the month, we had strong gains in professional and business services - that was up 8,300." Levy said. "We also had a strong month for construction, up 6,800 jobs." 

That's translated into a strong economy that bodes well for California's future. A report out of UCLA last month showed that employment and payrolls were expected to grow in the state over the coming months. 

"Though California made a temporary tax more or less permanent, experienced record high cost of living and has been prone to being characterized - both inside and outside of the state - as one of the most business unfriendly states in the nation, it has done remarkably well,'' Nickelsburg wrote. "Among the states with over 5 million in population, California's GDP has grown consistently and over the period 2013 to 2017 is the second fastest growing state after Washington.''

And while growth in California seems set to cruise along for the next few years, things nationally are undergoing a "regime change," according to UCLA Anderson Forecast senior economist David Shulman. 

"The economic environment is changing from one of sluggish growth and low inflation to one of accelerating growth and moderate inflation,'' Shulman wrote. "Moreover, monetary policy is transitioning from one of accommodation to one of normalization and fiscal policy is moving from a moderate deficit to a high deficit regime with trillion-dollar deficits in the on-deck circle.''

Real GDP growth in the U.S. is expected to hit 3 percent this year, 2.6 percent in 2019 and 1.6 percent in 2020. 

Growth in California is expected to continue at a strong pace in 2018 at around 2.2 percent - if that plays out in 2018, it'll be part of the second-largest economic expansion since World War II. 

"We've now had 96 months of an economic expansion and employment expansion, and it really shows no sign of slowing down at least at this point. And that is the second-longest expansion since World War II," Levy said. 

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