Explaining Southern California's economy

The grim jobs outlook for Southern California in 2012

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Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Unemployed father of two, Michael Lopez waits for work outside a temporary labor office in the Southern Californian town of El Centro, a town of 50,000 people where 30.4 percent of the work-age population are without employment, on October 28, 2010.

Yesterday, I blogged about the 2012 CSU Fullerton Economic Forecast and its fairly dire outlook for the national economy. Fullerton's economists also looked at the outlook for Orange County and the Southern California region. I'm going to focus on jobs, the biggest issue facing SoCal, where unemployment, at 12.1 percent, is well above the national average of 9.1 percent.

This is from the forecast:

Given the myriad of problems in the horizon both within the U.S. and globally, and prospect of little political will for forceful actions, the scenario of “muddling through” is expected not only at the national level but also at the local and regional levels. Our forecasts of payroll growth for Orange County are for a gain of only 7,300 jobs in 2011 and 16,300 jobs in 2012, or .5% and 1.2%, well below the historical average for the twenty years preceding the recession. Southern California region is expected to add only 20,000 jobs in 2011 and 95,000 jobs in 2012. As mentioned above, once the economy begins to establish an upward trend and gains momentum, jobs will be created mostly in areas of the region’s strength — construction, high-tech, business services, and leisure and hospitality. Over time we expect productivity to improve with a greater focus on exports.