California Jobs: A Multi-Dimensional Problem


“From the Beginning, California promised much. While yet barely a name on the map, it entered American awareness as a symbol of renewal. It was a final frontier: of geography and of expectation.”
— Kevin Starr, “Americans and the California Dream, 1850-1915” (1973)

On the surface, California’s job story seems positive. The “headline” unemployment number for December 2022 is low (4.1%). Payroll jobs continue to bounce back to close to pre-pandemic levels. As Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman would say, “What? Me worry?”

But a closer look at the longer-term, 20-year statistics shows a state with some very worrisome issues related to jobs, some of which are unique to California’s set of past policy choices.

This newly released report by Joel Kotkin, Marshall Toplansky, Heather Gonzales, and Ken Murphy examines how California can recreate the middle-class jobs it used to have, and grow overall prosperity for its citizens.

This report is made possible by the Center for Demographics and Policy at Chapman University.

Download the full report to discover our findings