Some days, those who follow the news feel as if we are in a parallel universe. What else may account for the radically disparate news reports concerning California’s employment figures? 

On September 17, the state’s July unemployment figures were released and the reaction from Gov. Gavin Newsom was a lot of positive spins. Here is what his press office released: “California continues to lead the nation’s economic recovery, creating 44% of the nation’s new jobs in August and ranking third in the nation in the rate of job growth this year. These 104,300 new jobs, the fifth time this year of six-figure job growth, represent new paychecks for Californians and new employees on payroll for businesses.” 

First and foremost, while the facts are right, the premise is not. Yes, the 44 percent increase in new job creation is genuine, but that hardly qualifies California as “leading the nation’s economic recovery.” 

This rosy picture of California’s jobs economic recovery exemplifies the old adage that there are three kinds of falsehoods: lies, terrible lies, and statistics. This release is deficient in both context and perspective. 

The California Center for Jobs and the Economy (CCJE) delivers detailed analysis that is significantly more informative than politically motivated news jobs releases for individuals seeking a no-spin perspective on California’s genuine condition of unemployment and other economic measures. 

As if responding directly to the governor’s statement, CCJE prefaces its report on the July figures with this: “While both the jobs and employment numbers have been better in recent months, they are not yet at levels that would see a quick recovery in the state economy.” 

This news from the parallel universe known as “reality” confirms what we all know: we’re steadily ascending from a very low position. “[T]he state has moved off the initial bounce from the depths of the downturn,” says the CCJE. “The pace has been encouraging in recent months, but that is due to looking at the numbers in isolation rather than what they signify for the overall health of the California economy and its workers. If current growth rates continue, it will take until mid-2023 to recover nonfarm jobs to pre-COVID trend levels. The current sluggish rate of employment would require one additional year.” 

The governor’s press statement neglects to mention the essential number of all: total unemployment. California still has the nation’s second-highest unemployment rate. In even more disturbing news, newly released data on first unemployment claims reveal that for the week of September 18, claims in California increased 46.9 percent, accounting for half of the 15.2 percent increase recorded in the national total. 

While the governor’s office agrees that “more work” is needed to re-create the employment lost due to the pandemic, the results show “promising progress for California’s economic recovery.” Newsom’s claim of “promising improvement” is like to the Baltimore Orioles claiming “promising progress” since they have only lost 104 games this season. 

In addition to providing valuable and accessible statistics on California unemployment, CCJE also publishes data on energy costs and housing concerns, notably where California ranks in comparison to other states. The statistics are not encouraging. The CCJE employment report includes a special section called “Califormer,” which includes a list of the most recent enterprises to leave California wholly or relocate substantial portions of their operations to other states. 

Perhaps it is this part of the report that explains all the other dismal data. While Newsom fiddles with statistics, his policies are burning California jobs. 

Source: The Whittier Daily News