Business & Economy

National and state job numbers return to pre-recession levels, with more hiring expected in 2015

Natasha Case co-founded Coolhaus in 2009.
Natasha Case co-founded Coolhaus in 2009.
Brian Watt

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The nation's unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent in August, according to new government data released this morning. It's the lowest unemployment rate the U.S. has seen since before the Great Recession in 2008. 

California numbers are also strong. This week, a report from California's Employment Development Department put the state's unemployment rate at 6.2 percent, the lowest it's been since February of 2008.

A new report shows no foreseeable end to the sunny job market.

Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management and Dun and Bradstreet surveyed more than 2800 small and medium-sized businesses nationwide, with 278 in California. Two thirds (66%) of small businesses in California said they plan to hire more workers in the next six months.   

"They've been very cautious about expanding and hiring more people for the past few years out of uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act and overall economic conditions," says Pepperdine Finance Professor Craig Everett. "They’ve been hiring the replacement workers but really not expanding much.  This is the first real surge." 

The quarterly survey, called the Private Capital Access Index, says 50 percent of California small and medium-sized businesses sought a bank loan in the last three months.   Nearly half of them were able to get a loan -  a 10 percent jump from last quarter. 

Natasha Case co-founded the Coolhaus gourmet ice cream company in 2009.  Every year since, she says, profits have doubled for the company with quirky flavors like "Fried Chicken and Waffles" and ice cream sandwiches named after renowned architects. Only last year was Case successful at securing the company's first bank loan.

"It took a long time to get this line of credit and it’s not as much as we would like," Case said in the company's Culver City headquarters. "Pre-Recession, if you had a business plan, there were some banks, you could walk in there, and that would be your start-up capital.  I get why that doesn't happen any more, but hopefully we can move back into more of a middle ground."  

Coolhaus now employs roughly 75 people, some of them seasonally, and Case hopes to hire another two employees in the next six months.