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Decline in Government Jobs Explains California Unemployment

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Gavin Newsom stepped back from the brink of laying off thousands of city workers, who apparently would rather be furloughed, anyway.

    It's the talking point that won't go away: the economy and jobs won't come back until government spending has been brought under control. But in California, data show a different picture. It may be hard to believe, but California government hasn't been getting bigger in recent years. It's gotten smaller, with government payrolls having been reduced by 100,000.

    This isn't just government news. It's economics news. The loss in government jobs -- combined with an even bigger loss of construction jobs -- explains why California has one of the nation's highest unemployment rates, at 11.9 percent. The non-construction sector of the private economy has been producing jobs at a rate as fast or faster than other states. Government budget cuts and the resulting job losses have undercut these gains.