California has been recovering from the recent deep recession, and that’s good for America.
But, as strong as California’s recent job gains have been, it’s important to put things in to context.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics site for total nonfarm (seasonally adjusted) job growth, we see that, year-over-year, February to February, California and Texas stack up as follows:
12 months: California, 3.1% growth in employment; Texas, 3.1% in growth in employment – result, tie.
24 months: California, 6.2% growth in employment; Texas, 6.0% in growth in employment – result, edge to California.
36 months: California, 9.5% growth in employment; Texas, 9.6% in growth in employment – result, edge to Texas.
10 years: California, 7.1% growth in employment; Texas, 22.4% in growth in employment – result, Texas job growth more than triples California’s.
California’s sluggish long term job growth, with the job growth rate being less than the population growth rate in the state, has contributed to the Golden State’s persistently high official unemployment rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics official unemployment rate news release for February, 2015 gave the U.S. rate as 5.5%; California at 6.7%; and Texas at 4.3%. Proportionately, California’s official unemployment rate is 56% higher than Texas’.
This lack of jobs contributes to widespread poverty in California. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, California’s three-year Supplemental Poverty Measure (2011 to 2013) was 23.4%, the highest rate in the nation. The Supplemental Poverty Measure, unlike the longstanding Official Poverty Measure, actually looks at the cost of housing from state-to-state and it also includes the effect of taxes and non-cash benefits such as food stamps and federal housing vouchers. As such, it is a far more accurate gauge of poverty. The national average Supplemental Poverty Measure rate was 15.9%. Texas came in at 15.9%. Proportionately, California has 47% more people in poverty than both the U.S. and Texas.