For Local Labor Markets, the Public Sector Is Still a Drag

After more than four years of sustained job growth, California has nearly regained the number of jobs lost during the Great Recession. On top of this, the economic recovery is now also reaching a growing number of metropolitan areas and industries across California. However, while all major metropolitan areas have now experienced net job growth over the past four years, this growth has been uneven both across the broad regions of our state — with the Greater Bay Area generally faring better than the Los Angeles and San Diego regions — and within each region. Moreover, some weaker parts of the California economy — most notably the public sector — are continuing to act as a drag on overall job growth.

The below table highlights both the strengths and the weaknesses of California’s current recovery. It shows the percent change in the number of jobs between the first quarters of 2010 and 2014 for each major metropolitan area and select industries. Metropolitan areas are grouped by region, and within each region the metros are sorted by the level of overall job growth during the past four years.

One notable takeaway from this table is that public sector job losses weigh heavily on nearly all metro areas in California. Even as the private sector has expanded and added jobs across a variety of industries over the last four years, the number of public sector jobs — which includes jobs in public education as well as with cities and counties — still remains below the 2010 level in most metro areas.  Statewide, public sector jobs were down 2.5 percent in first quarter of 2014 compared to four years prior.

Click on the table image to see how your metro area is faring in the economic recovery.

— Luke Reidenbach