Calif. Job Market on the Upswing

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By Jessica Greene
|  Friday, May 22, 2009  |  Updated 12:49 PM PDT
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Calif. Job Market on the Upswing

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

California's unemployment rate dropped slightly from last month's modern record, falling to 11 percent in April.

It looks like California's economy is trying hard to make a comeback.

The day after a study revealed the housing market in Northern California is seeing the light, new numbers show the state's unemployment rate also might be emerging from the darkest days of the recession.

California's unemployment rate dropped slightly from last month's modern record, falling to 11 percent in April.

The state Employment Development Department says the jobless rate fell from 11.2 percent in March. But it is up from just 6.6 percent a year ago.

The news comes as the national unemployment rate continues to rise, increasing from 8.5 percent in March to 8.9 percent in April.

However, even though there are a few positive signs in the market, it's not exactly a screaming sign that we're out of the woods yet.

Stephen Levy, senior economist at the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, says the slight decline is a false signal that economic recovery has begun.

Levy calls the report misleading because it shows the state lost another 63,700 jobs since March, even as 35,000 fewer Californians were unemployed. The leveling off may be because California had been higher than the national average for job losses in previous months.

He says the state's economy dropped deeper into recession last month, with continued declines in construction, manufacturing and trade jobs. But he sees hope for a recovery beginning later this year.

There are "glimmers of hope for economic recovery later this year," Levy said in an e-mail: stabilization in the banking and housing industries, the flow of federal stimulus money and the chance that some firms have now retrenched and plan no more layoffs.

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