Forecast: California to outpace nation in job growth

LOS ANGELES — California will continue to outpace the nation in job growth over the next few years, narrowing an unemployment rate gap in a slow but uneven economic recovery that will leave unskilled workers behind, according to the UCLA Anderson Forecast released Thursday.

The state's unemployment rate will average 8.9 percent this year — compared with 7.6 for the U.S. as a whole — but it will drop by a percentage point in 2014 and another in 2015, forecasters said in their third-quarter report.

The national unemployment rate will remain lower, but California will narrow that gap as it has continued to do for more than a year, the forecast said.

"The factors which have driven California employment and income growth to higher rates than the U.S. are still in play," it said. "As the world economy improves, and as investment in the U.S. picks up once again, California will once again have a disproportionate share of that improvement."

California's total employment growth — including payroll, farm and the self-employed — will be 2.7 percent this year, and 2.1 percent for each of the next two years, the forecast said.

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