Lately, watching the news on the economy feels a lot like watching a horror movie unfold. Brace yourself because more frightening jobs numbers have just emerged from around the corner.
Today’s jobs report shows that California lost 29,200 jobs in May due to declines in employment in all but two major sectors of the economy – financial activities and information services. In fact, California fared worse than the nation as a whole, which added 54,000 jobs in May. While this represented substantially slower growth for the nation’s job market, at least it was a positive number.
Today’s report also shows that California’s unemployment rate fell in May for the fifth month in a row, reaching 11.7 percent, down from a high of 12.5 percent in December. This drop would be great news if it were entirely due to more people finding work. But in reality, much of the decline in the jobless rate reflects the fact that more Californians are giving up on their job search and are no longer counted as unemployed. Hundreds of thousands of Californians are still sitting on the sidelines of the job market waiting for hiring to pick up so that they can get back to work.
The figures released today provide further evidence that the recovery is losing steam and bolsters the case for a balanced approach to closing the state’s remaining budget gap. As we’ve said many times before, deeper cuts on top of those already enacted work against the recovery by directly or indirectly resulting in additional job loss. With 4 million Californians currently unemployed or underemployed – a population larger than the City of Los Angeles – we simply can’t afford to do anything that makes this situation worse.