walter russell mead peter berger lilia shevtsova adam garfinkle andrew a. michta
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California “Comeback”: Nation’s Worst Unemployment Rate

Governor Jerry brown has trumpeted his state’s “comeback,” but the jobs data tells a different story. The Labor Department reports that California is tied for the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 9.8 percent. The alarmingly high figure is matched only by Rhode Island, another state dealing with the consequences of a stale blue model.

Yet we remain skeptical that even a one-in-ten unemployment rate will be enough to convince California’s movers and shakers to change course. The prosperous blue-green elite on California’s coast have failed to demonstrate any understanding of the role their policies have played in stymieing growth and opportunity in the inland districts where the jobless are concentrated.

A strong job market and rising home prices in the Bay Area are all well and good but are more of a testament to the dynamism of America’s tech industry than they are to the wisdom of the state’s economic policies. We’re sure the unemployed of El Centro (25 percent), Merced (17 percent), and Modesto (15 percent) would agree.

Meanwhile, employment in the Midwest and South continues to race ahead of the coasts. Anyone who blames California’s obstacles on its large immigrant population need only look to Texas, which enjoys both a large immigrant population and an unemployment rate (6.3 percent) well below the national average.

California still has plenty of things going for it, but that makes its recent failures all the more disappointing. Via Meadia will be happy to join the chorus of voices shouting “comeback” once we see that the good times have returned for the people who need them the most.

[California flag and eye image courtesy of Shutterstock.com]

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