SAN FRANCISCO - Today is a good day to compare this Labor Day to those gone by to see where we are. Since last Labor Day the U.S. has gained 2.5 million jobs.
That has brought the nation's unemployment rate down from of 5.1% then, to 4.9% now. "In terms of joblessness, it's better than last year and far better than it was in 2010," says Michael Bernick, Labor Lawyer and Former EDD Director.
He says says, since last Labor Day California's hot labor market has gained 375,000 new jobs.
State unemployment is now at 5.5 percent as compared to 6% last Labor Day, a far cry from the worst of the recession.
"On Labor Day 2010 that we were over 10% and, at one point, earlier that year, over 12%," says Mr. Bernick who adds that employment has increased pretty much steadily since early 2010; the longest employment recovery; in three to four decades. Nonetheless.
"I don't know anyone who feels good about the economy here in California, even in the Bay Area, outside of the tech oligarchy we have," says Bernick.
That, he says is because many of California's 2.3 million new California jobs since Early 2010, are not the traditional, steady, secure, full time type.
"These official job numbers concerning payroll employment, concerning the unemployment rate don't pick up a lot of the structural shifts.
Part of it is a low wage; the expansion of low wage jobs. Part of it is the expansion of part time jobs which are considered to be, even if they're just one hour, they're considered to be a payroll job," says Bernick.
Yet, many jobs are going unfilled because too many Californian's have either retired or given up on finding work, a lingering recession hang over.
"The labor force participation rate, on which the unemployment rate is built, is still under 63%. Or, to put it in some perspective, is near the lowest it's been since the late 1970's," says Bernick. And, the percentage of people willing to confidently quit one job and move to another one is up.
The brightest spot, we do not seem to be in a jobs bubble. "There's reason to think that, combined with our state numbers, we're likely to see job growth continue and not see a sharp decline," opines Mr. Bernick.
And, he adds, the entrepreneurial spirit of Californians, especially younger ones burns bright. "As long as we have that in California, we'll be fine," he concludes.
So, on Labor Day 2016, this is most assuredly a sign of the times, with many jobs available at many skill levels and many employers, more than willing to train.