Explaining Southern California's economy

PHOTOS: Top 10 California business and economics stories of 2012

Apple Introduces iPhone 5

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Apple introduces the iPhone 5 in San Francisco. It was the first time that the technology juggernaut, the most valuable California company by far, introduced a new device since Steve Jobs' death. Will it be enough to make Apple the world's first $1 trillion company in 2013?

Rupert Murdoch

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The Tribune Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times along with dozens of other media properties, finally exited bankruptcy on New Year's Eve. Now the real fun can begin in the City of Angels: Who will buy the hometown paper? Could it be...Rupert Murdoch?

elon musk

Photo Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk watches Dragon's progress inside of SpaceX Mission Control in Hawthorne in May. The former PayPal founder whose other company in electric carmaker Tesla Motors put California's space business back on the map — and ushered in a new era of private voyages to the stars. But will he really be able to retire on Mars?

George Lucas Poses With A Group Of "Star Wars" Inspired Disney Characters At Disney's Hollywood Studios

Handout/Getty Images

Disney CEO Bob Iger completes a trip of high-profile acquisitions, beginning with Pixar, then moving on to Marvel, culminating with a purchase of Lucasfilm from George Lucas. "Star Wars" now belongs to the Mighty Mouse — and Episode 7 is on the way! But will Disney be able to inject new life into one of pop cultures iconic entertainment franchises?

Reed Saxon

California was crushed by the housing downturn. But fours years after the bottom fell out, the state's real estate market at last began to show signs of life, as the foreclosure crisis fades and a price bubble even began to form in Southern California. Will the market return to normal in 2013?

FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Dinner New York City

Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Time Inc.

Former Google superstar Marissa Mayer took the helm at troubled Yahoo, after a ugly battle between the board of directors and activist shareholder Dan Loeb. Mayer began to make immediate management changes, brought back free food, became one of the most powerful female CEOs on the U.S. — and had a baby! Can she live up to the hype in 2013?

CinemaCon 2011 - Day 2

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The battle for the future of online content heated up. In early 2012, Silicon Valley and Hollywood dueled in Washington, D.C., over anti-piracy legislation. Hollywood had the lobbying power, embodied by former senator Chris Dodd and the MPAA. But Silicon Valley won a critical skirmish in the eleventh hour by blacking out Wikipedia for a day. Will the combatants be able to strike a truce in 2013?

Job Seekers  Meet With Recruiters At Job Fair

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At the tail end of 2013, California's unemployment rate dropped into single digits for the first time since 2009. And compared with the rest of the U.S., the state spent 2012 adding jobs at a brisk clip. But will the recovery be able to sustain its momentum in 2013?

 bankrupt pensions

Steven Cuevas / KPCC

San Bernardino fell off its own fiscal cliff in 2012 — and fell fast, declaring bankruptcy quicker than anyone expected. The broke Inland Empire city joined Stockton and Mammoth Lakes in a minor bankruptcy boom in California and set the stage for the municipal bond market's worst nightmare: a long-anticipated wave of defaults in the Golden State. Could that scary event come to pass in 2013?

A sign announcing Facebook IPO is flashe


It was supposed to be the initial public offering of the century, enriching Facebook employees and investors and reviving a moribund IPO market for high-tech startups. But Facebook flopped in first-day trading and kept on falling in subsequent days. Facebook's lead banker, Morgan Stanley, was blamed for botching the offering. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went on the defensive. And by year end, Facebook still hadn't recovered it $100 billion valuation. But it topped 1 billion active users before the ball dropped in Times Square to ring on 2013. Will 2013 be the year it bounces back?

This is one in a series of year-end stories that look back at the most memorable pieces KPCC reporters worked on in 2012 and look ahead at a key issue that will be the focus of coverage in the coming year.

How much happened in the Golden State in 2012 when it comes to business? Lots. Lots and lots. The DeBord Report covered most of it. 

The slide show above serves up the business year in pictures for the state with the largest economy and two of America's most storied industries: Hollywood and high-tech.

And if you want to review the business year in links to the original posts...well, I've got that covered, too.

10. Apple introduces the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini — the first all-new gadgets rolled out by Cupertino since the death of Steve Jobs

9. The long, long, LONG Tribune Co. bankruptcy comes to and end. So who will buy the Los Angeles Times?


CA unemployment rate falls to 9.8%, lowest in 4 years

Job Seekers  Meet With Recruiters At Job Fair

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Job seekers wait in line to enter a California job fair. The state's unemployment rate fell to 9.8 percent in November, down from 10.1 percent.

California's unemployment rate has finally fallen back into the single digits, for the first time since January 2009. The Labor Department reported Friday that the Golden State's jobless rate for November was 9.8 percent, down from October's 10.1 percent.

Economists had been expecting California's rate to break the psychologically important 10 percent barrier, but it's still exciting to see the day arrive at last when the state can now look at the national unemployment rate — 7.7 percent — and see a smaller gap to close.

California has been adding jobs a nice clip all year. In November, according to the Labor Department, the state's over-the-year total, 268,600 jobs added, was second only to Texas. And not by much: Texas has added 278,800 jobs since last November.

These aren't spectacular numbers. But in the context of a weak recovery, they're worth noting.


U.S. economy grows at a stronger pace in the third quarter

Labor Day Apparel - 12

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A worker moves finished fabrics at the Antex Corporation warehouse, which has operated in Los Angeles since 1973. Overal economic activity in the U.S. grew by a better-than-originally-estimated 3.1 percent in the third quarter.

The U.S. economy expanded at a pace of 3.1 percent in the third quarter, according to revised data released Thursday by the U.S. Commerce Department.

The growth in third quarter real GDP — the total economic output of the U.S. economy — has been revised up steadily since earlier this year. Today's 3.1 percent is more than full percentage point higher than the initial assessment of the economy by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. A second revision also pushed the number higher, to 2.7 percent.

In a nearly $16 trillion economy, there's a major difference between growing at 2 percent and growing at over 3 percent.

Economists have recently argued that 2 percent U.S. GDP growth could be a new normal for the economy as it emerges from the Great Recession. Historically, the economy has grown at a faster rate. But last year, it expanded at only a 1.7 percent annual pace, and since the financial crisis, it hasn't seen quarters in which GDP has grown at the typically 5-6 percent pace a recovering economy usually enjoys.


CHART: November job report: US adds 146,000 jobs, unemployment rate falls to 7.7 percent

Job Fair Held In New York

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A student registers at the Barnard College Career Fair in New York City. TKTKTK

The U.S. added 146,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent, the Labor Department reported on Friday.

There was concern going into the November report that Superstorm Sandy would have an effect on the jobs situation and the ability of the government to accurately gauge employment for the month, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which complies the data, says that it didn't: "Our analysis suggests that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November."

Given that concern, the fact that the economy added 146,000 new jobs in November is good news. However, it's important to remember that coming out of a recession as severe as the financial crisis, and with 12 million Americans unemployed and 4.8 million defined a "long-term unemployed," we need to see 300-400,000 new jobs added each month to be in a truly robust recovery.


November jobs: How much will Sandy affect the big number?

A jobs sign hangs above the entrance to


A jobs sign hangs above the entrance to the US Chamber of Commerce building in Washington, DC. The November jobs report will be released Friday morning and may affected by superstorm Sandy.

The federal Labor Department will release its jobs report for November bright and early Friday morning. As usual, I'll be on the dawn patrol to scrutinize the numbers. Last month, the much-watched and heavily parsed report showed the domestic economy adding 171,000 jobs in October.

That was better than expected. The labor participation rate ticked up modestly as more people began looking for work — which was enough to push the headline unemployment rate up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent on September.

Importantly, August and September saw their jobs totals revised up, indicating an economy performing better than previously thought.

The trend suggests that we could see a good November report, particularly as the government recently revised its estimates of U.S. economic growth in the third quarter to 2.7 percent from 2 percent.