Don’t trust good news. Like the news that California’s unemployment rate fell below 12 percent for the first time since Aug. 2009. Putting us at 11.9 percent unemployment.
That sounds good until I tell you this: The unemployment rate of Michigan is 10.1 percent.
What’s California's problem?
Our dependence on the housing market, which remains in the dumps and has decimated construction jobs. Government cuts also have undermined employment. (Why does Michigan look better? The rebound of some manufacturing and the fact that so many unemployed people have left Michigan to find jobs somewhere else).
But despite some strong jobs gains in many sectors, California isn’t as dynamic as it should be. And a big part of that is a lack of dynanism and involvement at the local level.
In California’s economic heyday, private business and local governments cooperated closely and energetically to lure private and public investment that brought industry here.
One consequence of our government dysfunction – and especially the centralization of California budgeting and governance – has been to weaken the power of local governments who are at the front lines of local development.