News / Economy

California a Bright Spot in US Economic Recovery

California and US in Uneven Recoveryi
X
August 22, 2013
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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7217
JPY
USD
102.17
GBP
USD
0.5949
CAD
USD
1.1009
INR
USD
60.326

Rates may not be current.