Intersections: A Monthly Go-To for Reliable Facts and Analysis About California's Debt, Investments and Economy

Vol. 1, No. 3, Published July 6, 2015

California Job Tracker: Full Recovery Holds at 20 Metro Areas

By Lynn Reaser

stock market bull

The San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco area has scored a job rebound of about 133,000 above its pre-Recession employment peak.

A total of 20 out of California�s 28 major metropolitan areas remain in full job recovery from the losses of the Great Recession, according to the latest employment report for May. These areas represent 82 percent of the state�s total jobs on private- and public-sector payrolls.

The state�s overall employment rebound surpassed the July 2007 pre-Recession peak by 604,000 jobs as of May, up from 562,000 jobs in April. The dates of the pre-Recession peaks varied across the 2006-08 timeframe. The San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco area has scored a job rebound of about 133,000 above its prior peak, followed closely by the San Jose metropolitan area (Santa Clara County) with a 126,000-job advance.

The major metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, Orange County, and the Inland Empire (Riverside-San Bernardino) all are now firmly in the �recovery club.� L.A. County has moved 72,000 above its prior job peak.

The Sacramento area could reach its prior pre-Recession peak within four months if job growth continues at the pace of the past 12 months. The Stockton-Lodi metropolitan statistical area (MSA) could reach its prior peak within three months. Of the remaining MSAs representing 1.0 percent or more of the state�s total employment, Ventura County should reach its prior peak within the next year.

California�s economic revival has certainly not been even, highlighted by the surge in economic activity in the technology-driven coastal regions of Northern California. Some of the more agriculturally dependent areas -- such as Hanford, Yuba City and Redding -- are still lagging and could take considerable time to fully regain their prior job levels. However, California�s economic recovery continues to extend its reach as its momentum builds.

Figure 20: Regions Where Job Recovery Has Met Pre-Recession Peak

(Nonfarm Employment, Seasonally Adjusted)

California�s economic recovery from the depths of the Recession has reached 20 of the state�s 28 major metropolitan areas. The 20 areas that have fully recovered their pre-Recession highs account for 82 percent of California�s current nonfarm payrolls.

*Data for the San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco Met Div is not seasonally adjusted.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, California Employment Development Department, Fermanian Business and Economic Institute

See raw data: Employment numbers by region.

Lynn Reaser is chief of the Treasurer’s Council of Economic Advisors and chief economist at the Fermanian Business and Economic Institute for Point Loma Nazarene University. The opinions in this article are presented in the spirit of spurring discussion and reflect those of the author and not necessarily the Treasurer, his office or the State of California.