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California cities among the worst for job growth

Sacto
The economic picture in California is so bad that job prospects in major cities in California are worse than those in areas in the Rust Belt, according to a ranking by Forbes and NewGeography.com. 

In the annual survey ranking the best big cities for jobs, Los Angeles slipped to No. 59 out of 66 metropolitan areas nationwide. Orange County was No. 60. The Inland Empire fell to No. 63.

That means the Southland was beat by areas including Pittsburgh (No. 13), Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y. (No. 20), and Camden, N.J. (No. 29). The Austin, Texas, metro area, is the best large city for job growth, according to the rankings.

"No state has suffered a greater reversal of fortunes than California," wrote Joel Kotkin, executive editor of NewGeography.com. "Five or six years ago California regions generally inhabited the top half or third of our lists."

Seven of the bottom 20 regions on the list are in California this year.

Sacramento, which was once at the top of the list, is now ranked at No. 54, and San Diego, which Kotkin calls "a high-tech haven with a near perfect climate," comes in at No. 48. 

NewGeography.com uses Bureau of Labor Statistics data including the current and previous year's employment growth rates and the average annual 2004-2009 growth rates to calculate rankings.  

Kotkin blames the state's regulatory climate on the low ranks of California cities. Outsourcing and public employee pension obligations aren't helping the state any, he writes. Neither does the prospect of a state bankruptcy.

"Hopefully," Kotkin wrote in a report summary, "this will be the year when Californians decide that it needs an economy that provides opportunities to people other than software billionaires, movie moguls and their servants."

-- Alana Semuels

Photo: Authors of the survey blame Sacramento for some of California's woes. Credit: Paraflyer via Flickr

 
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