California's jobless rate in April was 10.9 percent, which doesn't tell you all that much about what's happening within the state. In Orange County, the April rate was 7.4 percent (not seasonally adjusted), and in Imperial County it was 26.8 percent. In a nutshell, the explanation centers on the diversity of the state's economy, which is this week's Business Update topic. Available at kpcc.org and podcast (Business Update with Mark Lacter).
Julian: Regional deviations because the state isn't just one economy, I suppose.
Lacter: Exactly, it's really a dozen or more economies. Obviously, the home construction business continues to struggle, but then there's the information industry, which is doing quite well - and that includes both the entertainment business down south and the tech business in the Bay Area. The trade and transportation sector is doing well, and that makes sense given the increased export activity we're seeing at the ports and at the warehouses.
Julian: But the big question is how many new jobs are being created?
Lacter: Quite a few, actually. April was a weak month, but 219,000 private-sector jobs have been added to California payrolls, which is one of the better job growth rates of any state in the nation. But again, so much of the story really depends on what part of the state you're in. You know, everyone tends to look at just one or two numbers, and you can't capture the overall economy in one or two numbers. You have to dig deeper.