Business & Economy

California's unemployment rate drops to 5.3 percent. How low can it go?

California’s unemployment ­­rate dipped to 5.3 percent last month as employers added 13,600 non-farm payroll jobs, the state announced Friday morning.
California’s unemployment ­­rate dipped to 5.3 percent last month as employers added 13,600 non-farm payroll jobs, the state announced Friday morning.
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Over the past six years, California has seen its sunny economy create more than 2 million jobs, cutting the unemployment rate in half. It now stands at 5.3 percent, a rate economists praised, and said won't change dramatically in the future.

On Friday, the state announced that employers added 13,600 more non-farm payroll jobs in November.

“The fundamentals of the state economy are sound, and growth is expected to continue into the new year," said Robert Kleinhenz, executive director of research at Beacon Economics and at the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Forecasting.

Since the Great Recession, California's unemployment rate has steadily ticked down from a high of 12.2 percent in 2010 to just 5.2 percent in May of 2016. The unemployment rate has been in the mid-five range for all of 2016. That's likely because the state is approaching full employment, said Kimberly Ritter-Martinez, an economist at the Kyser Center for Economic Research at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.

"Unless the economy really starts to rev up, I'd say we're pretty close to stabilizing the unemployment rate," she said.

That was the same assessment reached by economists who wrote the most recent UCLA Anderson Economic Forecast.

November's job gains were not as robust as California has seen over the past year, but the state continues to have considerably stronger job growth than the U.S. as a whole; California's job growth was 2.4 percent year-over-year compared to 1.6 percent for the rest of the country.