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

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Phone, Internet Surveillance

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.