Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Business

PolitiFact: Has California's job growth led the nation?

The statement

California has "robust job growth that outpaces the rest of the nation."

California state Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, Nov. 10 in a press release

The ruling

California's employment picture has certainly improved from the Great Recession, when it lost more than 1 million jobs from 2007 to 2009. Economists credit a rebound in housing and construction jobs plus strong tech-sector growth for the state's healthier employment figures.

But, we wondered, is the state seeing job growth that truly "outpaces the rest of the nation," as the senator claimed? Or did this statement exaggerate the state's good job news?

Economists we spoke with said De León's statement, on its face, is correct.

They said they took his statement to mean California's job growth rate was higher than the country's overall job growth rate. And it is.

In 2014, California added jobs at a 3 percent clip compared with the previous year. That was more than a percentage point higher than the country's overall growth rate of 1.9 percent during the same period, according to data from Chapman University's Center for Economic Research.

"Overall, the statement is accurate," said professor Esmael Adibi, the center's director. "We are outperforming the U.S."

And that's not a new trend, said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University.

"The state has actually outperformed the country as a whole for 44 consecutive months, which amounts to almost four years," Reaser said.

Still, there's more to the nation's job picture. Fourteen other states in 2014 had a higher job growth rate than the country overall, according to data provided by the economists. California's accomplishment was hardly unique.

Another interpretation of De León's claim is that California's job growth rate outpaced all other individual states in "the rest of the nation."

Asked to clarify the senator's statement, De León's office pointed to recent news articles that describe California adding more total jobs than any other state, and adding jobs at a faster pace than the nation overall.

Still, the phrase "rest of the nation" is open to different readings, Adibi said.

"Is he talking about the U.S. as a whole or is he talking about Texas or North Dakota or Michigan?" the professor asked.

That's significant, because five other states had a faster job growth rate than California's 3 percent last year. They were North Dakota at 3.8 percent; Nevada at 3.5 percent; Colorado at 3.3 percent; Florida at 3.2 percent; and Texas with 3.1 percent, according to state and federal data.

Overall, we rate the claim Mostly True.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com/california.

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