Reeling from California’s lack of jobs

The overall rate of California unemployment rose very slightly to 11% in June 2012. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate remained constant at 63%. For now, the continuing low rate of labor force participation indicates that much of the unemployed population remains disengaged from the world of jobs, and is not actively looking for work. Until jobs increase significantly, home sales volume has no chance of recovery.

Chart last updated 7/22/12

June 2012 May 2012 June 2011
CA Unemployment Rate
Number Unemployed
LFP Rate

Data courtesy of California Employment Development Department

  • The most recent peak month for unemployment was January 2010, when 2,349,600 people were registered as unemployed in California, a 12.9% unemployment rate. Excluded from these unemployment numbers are individuals who have dropped out of the labor force entirely, either for retirement or lack of available work.
  • The labor force participation (LFP) rate tracks the percentage of the state population who are actively working or looking for work. This rate has undergone a nearly-constant decline since the start of the Great Recession.
  • 34.7% of those unemployed in June 2012 had been without work for 52 weeks (one year) or more.

Unemployment Statewide

The above chart depicts joblessness in California over the past 30+ years as a percentage of the state’s total labor force, and encompasses several run-of-the-mill recessions. As shown, unemployment in 2011 lingered at a higher percentage of the labor force than at any time in recent history, producing the sharpest spike in unemployment since the Great Depression. Expect our recovery during this jobless Lesser Depression to be longer than the recessions of the past 35 years.

Credit given to the first tuesday Journal Online — P.O. Box 5707, Riverside, CA 92517.