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

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.