The latest preliminary figures from the Employment Development Department show the state unemployment level in July at 7.3%, which is the highest it’s been since June 1996, when the figure was 7.4%. A year ago, in July 2007, the unemployment rate was 5.4%. Breakdowns by county are available here.
For historical data (in Excel format) of California unemployment rates and other data, including numbers of people in the civilian work force, and seasonally adjusted employment numbers and percentages going back to January 1990, click here. Historical data back to January 1976 are available in a separate spreadsheet.
A new report from the California Budget Project highlights state demographic trends that are likely to shape and influence public policy over the next 12-15 years. The three major trends that the report discusses:
- Between 2000 and 2020, California will have added 10 million people, “roughly equivalent to the population of Michigan.”
- By 2020, the percentage of whites/Anglos in the state will have decreased to 37.5%, and African-Americans will have decreased to 5.4%. Latinos will have increased to 41.4%, and Asians will have increased to 12.5%.
- By 2020, the number of Californians over the age of 65 will have increased by 75%.
The report recommends more investment in infrastructure, education, and care and services for older Californians. The executive director of the California Budget Project, Jean Ross, is quoted in a San Francisco Chronicle article today as saying, “We need to decide what is going to be the role of state policies. If not, we’re not going to have an economy that can compete globally.”
A recent Public Policy Institute of California survey notes a 10% increase (51-45%) in support of offshore drilling since July 2007. An overwhelming majority of Californians also continue to support efforts on the part of state policymakers to broadly target global warming, including reducing auto emissions and greenhouse gas emissions, and including implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. However, a majority of Republicans polled (57%) believe that implementation should wait until the budget situation is resolved or until the state’s economic condition improves.