A Closer Look at Job Creation in California’s Regions

California’s job market has been growing for more than three years now, but not all regions in the state are seeing this growth. As we explained earlier this month in Uneven Progress, unemployment remains in the double digits in a majority of counties, most of which are in inland areas. To follow up on that analysis, we looked a little deeper into which industries are growing in California’s metropolitan regions.

The above infographic shows job growth by industry between the first half of 2010, when the economy began adding jobs, and the first half of 2013, and regions are listed in order of the fastest-growing job markets to the slowest. The state’s fastest-growing metro areas — San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, Napa, and San Jose — have seen broad-based growth across a diverse set of industries. Notably, the industry category that includes construction has seen large increases in the number of jobs, and other industries such as financial activities and, in the case of San Jose and San Francisco, information services (which includes many Internet-technology-related jobs), also have seen gains where other areas in the state have not. Not surprisingly, the state’s slower-growing regions are still experiencing either declines or little growth in multiple industries.

This chart also shows the continued legacy of budget cuts in the public sector. The Great Recession led to a sharp drop of tax revenue for state and local governments, which meant layoffs and furloughs for public sector workers even as the job market began to recover. The number of jobs in government declined across nearly all metro areas in this three-year period, putting a drag on cities’ recoveries.

Given these regional disparities, and the data released this week on poverty in California, it is clear that this economy isn’t reaching large groups of Californians.

— Luke Reidenbach