California’s Future: Economy
By many measures, California’s economy is performing well. The statewide unemployment rate is at a long-term low. Jobs have been growing for more consecutive years than is typical. Construction and major service industries—at both the high- and less-skilled levels—are projected to continue to drive job growth over the next decade. These job market improvements are reflected in family incomes, which have picked up substantially over the past few years.
Although major labor market indicators are outperforming pre-recession levels, many Californians still struggle with unemployment and stagnant wages. This mixed picture is reflected in Californians’ views of the economy. According to the September 2017 PPIC Statewide Survey, 40 percent of Californians expect economic bad times over the next year, while 51 percent predict good times.
Recent trends are an important gauge, but historical patterns are still the best guide to California’s economic future. Booms, busts, and recoveries take place in the context of long-term trends. Major sectoral shifts—such as the transition from manufacturing to services—can occur over decades.
This publication is part of a briefing kit that highlights our state’s most pressing long-term policy challenges in 11 key areas: