Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why the Rest of the Country Should Not Emulate California

Not, that is, unless another three million unemployed is the goal.

In January we posted "A Couple Reasons California Isn't the Energy Efficiency Utopia it Claims to Be", the main point of which was that California's GDP and GDP growth over the last decade was a chimera and that any argument of energy efficiency using Cali's GDP as the numerator (or denominator, depending on which way you were running the numbers) was flawed by virtue of using that Potemkin GDP.

Today we have another datapoint from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which bears this out.
This morning the BLS released the state by state numbers for labor force participation and unemployment in January 2009.

Using the raw (Not Seasonally Adjusted) numbers, the total U.S. labor force was 153,445,400 and the number "officially"* unemployed was 13,009,000 for an unemployment rate of 8.47% [this number is considerably higher than the headline Seasonally Adjusted 7.6%].

For California the corresponding numbers are 18,486,800 and 1,954,900 yielding a 10.57% unemployment rate, higher than the Seasonally Adjusted headline 10.1%.

Stripping out California's numbers from the national figures yields a labor force of 134,958,600; unemployed at 11,054,100 and a "rest of the country" rate of 8.2%.

If the rest of the country suffered at California's 10.57% rate, the number of unemployed would be 14,265,219 or 3,211,119 more people out of work.

California has created huge problems for itself and it's largest-in-the-Union congressional delegation is working to have the rest of the country solve (pay for) them.

Here's the BLS's homepage.
Here's today's release(21 page PDF).

*The line U-6 number, including underemployed and discouraged workers is approaching Great Depression levels.