Saturday, August 20, 2011

California's Economy Continues to Limp Along

The state's Economic Development Department released its employment data for the month of July yesterday, and the news wasn't good: as reported in the Sacramento Bee, the unemployment rate ticked back up to 12.0% last month. As it had the month before, the number of payroll jobs actually increased by 4,500, though this was only a fraction of the 30,000-plus jobs the state added last month. While there were bright spots, including strong private-sector hiring in Silicon Valley and the East Bay, in general the state's economy looks to be going sideways rather than forward. And many of the state's unemployed have been without work for a very long time.

In Sacramento, there will doubtless be renewed calls for Jerry Brown and the Legislature to "do something" about jobs. As we've noted all week, however, much of the current malaise is inextricably tied to the "somethings" they've done already. Between pushing a small armada of regulations on the private sector, threatening massive new taxes every other week, and diverting vast amounts of private capital into half-baked green-technology ventures that can't seem to stop failing, the odds that the government will lead California out of this mess are very small indeed. But then, such are the challenges of trying to micromanage and centrally plan something that the free market does quite naturally.


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