Job growth crawls upward in US, crawls slightly faster in California

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The U.S. Labor Department says unemployment across the country dipped last month to 8.1 percent, the lowest it's been in three years.

That may seem like good news, but economists say it’s nothing to get excited about. They say the jobless rate’s gone down because more Americans have simply given up looking for work.

Luckily, reports indicate that California’s economic outlook is more promising.

UCLA Anderson Forecast senior economist Jerry Nickelsburg says the state’s moving in the right direction “because California is one of the leading states in job creation in the U.S. in this recovery.”

He says hiring is stronger here than it is nationally.

“And that has brought some 300,000 Californians back into the labor market," Nickelsburg explains. "That’s what’s holding up our unemployment rate [...] people coming in because they see their friends or acquaintances getting jobs and they find that it’s now worthwhile to look.”

That said, the state’s unemployment rate still hovers around 11 percent.

“We’ve been sitting right in that neighborhood, slightly under, for a couple of months," says Nickelsburg. But, he adds, "we don’t expect when California’s numbers come out for April that we’re going to see much of a drop in the unemployment rate.”

Nickelsburg says California technology companies are picking up workers, as are employers in health care, restaurants, retail and temp firms.

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