December 24th, 2011 9:47 AM by Lehel S.
California may finally have turned the corner into recovery, with the job market slated for slow but steady growth over the next two years, according to a report released today by UCLA's Anderson Forecast.
"Have we turned the corner in the Golden State? Perhaps we have," wrote UCLA senior economist Jerry Nickelsburg. "The last two months have yielded both job growth in excess of the U.S. rate and job growth which is widespread throughout the state."
It was the second time in two days that a Southern California think tank has predicted increased job growth in the state. On Tuesday, Chapman University in Orange issued a similar report, predicting slightly higher growth than UCLA. (To see the Union-Tribune's article on the Chapman report, clickHERE.)
The UCLA report notes that since July, job growth throughout each major region of California has outpaced the national average. San Diego County, Orange County and Ventura grew at an average rate of 2 percent, compared to the U.S. average of 1 percent.
"In coastal California export and technology growth has been the key to recovery," Nickelsburg wrote. "A resurgence of investment and exports in 2012 will continue to drive the coastal economies."
On the other hand, the forecast warns that the U.S. and international outlook is so weak that it is doubtful that the growth will be robust enough to chop down the unemployment rate anytime soon, especially in the Inland Empire and the Sacramento region. As a result, the unemployment rate will likely not dip below 10 percent until late 2013 or early 2014, and it could be 2016 before it returns to pre-recession levels.
And partly because of the continuing problems in the job market, the report projects that the downturn in the housing market will continue, with no dramatic growth in home construction - a key growth engine for the inland areas of the state - until 2013.
"The end of a recession does not mean 'recovered from a recession,'" Nickelsburg wrote. "It only means the contraction has ended. The pain remains real and persistent until solid and sustained gains occur."