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California has 3rd straight month of strong job gains, outpacing U.S.

California’s job creation pace has accelerated in the last few months, with employers adding 25,200 jobs in July at nearly twice the U.S. rate. 

Despite the job gains, the unemployment rate is stuck at 10.7%, according to data from the state’s Employment Development Department.

July is the 12th straight month of job gains, and the year-over-year growth rate has been 2.6% -- nearly twice the U.S. rate of about 1.4% .

“California is gaining momentum,” said Esmael Adibi, director of the A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research at Chapman University. 

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“This report as a very good report,” he said. It is “indicative of a continuation of the growth.”

Still, the report contained some mixed results. About 1.96 million Californians are unemployed and the labor force shrank by 52,500 in July. And most of the recovery has been concentrated in the coastal areas. Silicon Valley and the Bay Area have enjoyed much of the job growth, while the Inland Empire and Central Valley languish.

“I know people are disappointed with the unemployment rate still being so high, but to bring that down we need to see much more job creation to make a significant dent,” Adibi said. 

The largest gains in July were in professional and business services, which added 15,200 jobs; education and health services added 10,300 jobs; and leisure and hospitality added 6,400 jobs as summer tourism in California grew this year.  Statewide, government layoffs held steady in July, with a net gain of 1,200 once adjusted for seasonality as many in education are laid off during the summer months.

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Job losses in trade, transportation and utilities, which shed 8,000 positions, and manufacturing, down 3,100, signal that the slowing U.S. and global economies are beginning to have an effect on the state, economists said.

“For the next few months, we expect to see U.S. consumers to be a bit more cautious, and that affects California goods,” said Jerry Nicklesburg, a UCLA economist. Europe’s debt crisis and an economic slowdown in China, he added, are expected to be “a drag on California’s economy.”

In the last three months, California employers have added 116,100 non-farm jobs.

“California continues to surprise us in our positive direction,” said Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at Cal State Channel Islands in Camarillo."This is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise lackluster economic growth in the United States.”

Los Angeles County shed 44,200 nonfarm jobs in July, and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 11.2%.

Most Southern California counties reported job losses in their local education workforce as most schools were closed for summer recess. Orange County shed 12,700 jobs, and its unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.9%. San Diego County’s unemployment rate dipped to 9.2% from 9.3% in June, while it lost 4,400 nonfarm jobs in July.  

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ricardo.lopez2@latimes.com

Follow Ricardo Lopez on Twitter.


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