News / Economy

California a Bright Spot in US Economic Recovery

California and US in Uneven Recoveryi
X
August 22, 2013 9:33 PM
The American economy is slowly improving from the recession of 2008-2009. Industries like construction are doing well, but unemployment remains stubbornly high throughout the United States. Mike O'Sullivan reports that California is a bright spot, growing at a rate above the national average, but, as in other states, the recovery is uneven.
Mike O'Sullivan
The U.S. economy is slowly improving from the recession of 2008-2009.  Industries like construction are doing well, but unemployment remains stubbornly high throughout the United States.  California is a bright spot, growing at a rate above the national average, but as in other states, the recovery is uneven.

Realtor Rosalie Andersen adjusts the "for sale" sign in front of a white stucco home in a quiet neighborhood near Los Angeles.  She hopes the house will sell for more than a million dollars, and says the real estate market is on an upswing.

“It's kind of puzzling.  We talk in the office, and we're just wondering, where are these people getting all this cash from?  But I think what a lot of people are doing is that they're finally realizing that your best investment for money is a home," said Andersen.

California grew last year at 3.5 percent, a full percentage point above the national average.  

But the reality on the ground varies from place to place.  

The ports, one of the drivers of the local economy, are busier, says economist Robert Kleinhenz of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.

“We're still well below the pre-recession peak levels of port activity that we had seen in 2007," he said. "We've seen some slight gains with each passing year, but there still is quite a ways to go."

In downtown Los Angeles, the Chinese immigrant owner of a small business that sells T-shirts and slippers says he is doing well.  Nearby, Henry Wong sells low-cost decorations and fabrics imported China.  When sales are slow, he works with fewer employees.

“It's easier for me because the overhead is low.  And I work by myself too.  Sometimes, in the case that the economy is no good, we work more," said Wong.

Today, he's doing well.  A half dozen employees are busy in his retail store, and more are at work in his warehouse.

High-tech companies are helping to drive the U.S. recovery, but even in Silicon Valley, California's high-tech center, the picture is mixed.  Cisco, despite good sales, is cutting 4,000 jobs to adapt to a changing market.

The leisure and hospitality sector is hiring, and banking and professional services are also doing well.  California's $44 billion farming industry helps feed the nation and is growing.  The state's unemployment rate is 8.7 percent, down from over 12 percent three years ago.  The jobless rate across the United States is 7.4 percent, and those numbers are also improving.

They are still not where they should be, says economist Robert Kleinhenz.

“The unemployment rate has been coming down. GDP has been growing.  The problem is, they continue to tell us that the economy is growing at a slower pace than we would really like to see," he said.

Disappointing U.S. sales figures released this month by Wal-Mart, the nation's top retailer, show the economy still has a way way to go, even in states like California.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8957
JPY
USD
120.93
GBP
USD
0.6393
CAD
USD
1.2199
INR
USD
63.470

Rates may not be current.