Valley economy, job market looking up

Daily Sundial

Wherever jobs are, college graduates and job seekers will flock. California seems to be the destination for many hopeful young people who are ready to become part of the workforce.

But for some, looking for a job in sunny California may not be such a pleasant experience.

Although California is not among the fastest growing states in America, the San Fernando Valley shows significant signs of economic growth, said Daniel Blake, economics professor .

“Economic growth is better in the (San Fernando) Valley than (in) Los Angeles,” Blake said. “Los Angeles has not been keeping up with national proportions.”

Blake said states such as Arizona, Nevada, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida are among the fastest economically growing states. He said these fast growing states are beginning to attract job seekers.

However, according to the state of California’s official website, the job outlook in California is looking noticeably more positive.

“Services in general are the largest sector,” Blake said. “This includes all sorts of services, such as business, repair, personal and financial.”

Despite the fact that California is not among the fastest growing economies, there is adequate room for change in the future. Statistics on the labor website for California are showing growth occurring in certain industries in the state.

Joel Hessing, area service group manager at the California Labor Market Division in Sacramento, said job availability in California depends largely on location and the urgency in the demand of certain skills.

“Not only does it depend on location, it depends on the skills that (jobseekers) have to offer,” Hessing said. “It’s based on what skills are needed at that time.”

According to the California Labor Market, the occupations with the fastest job growth are physical therapist aides, rising close to 62 percent; dental hygienists, increasing to almost 58 percent; dental assistants, rising up to 57 percent; and drywall and ceiling tile installers, increasing by 56 percent.

As of December 2004, the labor force in California reached 17,684,000. The number of employed residents was 6,724,600.

As of February, the unemployment rate is 5.8 percent, according to the California Employment Development Department.