Good news from California on jobs

A January increase in payrolls confirms previous evidence suggesting the state is recovering

By Andrew Leonard
March 6, 2010 2:04AM (UTC)
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The stock market and the financial press are reacting much more warmly to the February labor report than I did. The rationale seems tenuous to me: Since the consensus economist opinion was that blizzards would make February's numbers really bad, a mere 36,000 jobs lost is reason for celebration. And look out March!

I'd be happier if the Bureau of Labor Statistics had provided any guidance at all at what the impact of the snow might have been on payrolls, but the number crunchers basically threw their hands up and said "we haven't got a clue." So what did the private forecasters know that the BLS didn't?


Maybe California can throw some light on the issue. The state released its January labor numbers today, and they seem to confirm previous indications of a positive turnaround.

Even though California's unemployment rate rose by two-tenths of a percent to 12.5, payrolls increased by 32,500. That's welcome news in a state that led the rest of the country into the recession, and now, let's hope, is leading the way out. It will be very interesting to see what California's February numbers look like, because Snowmaggedon, obviously, is unlikely to have had much of an impact out West. If California is regaining its footing, maybe March will usher in a spring to remember.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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California How The World Works Unemployment