Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Sunday, Mar. 24, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Sunday, Mar. 24, 2013 – 7:50 am

Coincidentally, three otherwise unrelated events last week framed California’s somewhat clouded economic situation.

One was a revelation that the state now is tied with Rhode Island for the nation’s highest unemployment rate, 9.8 percent.

Although employment surged in California last year, with about a quarter-million new jobs, and the jobless rate had dropped by more than two percentage points from its high-water mark, more than 1.8 million workers are still without jobs. And outside the immediate Bay Area the picture is especially grim, with jobless rates hitting nearly 30 percent in some rural counties.

The second event was release of a study by researchers at the University of Southern California on the state’s potentially huge deposits of shale oil that, they said, could spark an economic boom in the state, as it has in other states.

Exploiting shale oil could create from a half-million to more than 2 million jobs, increase personal income sharply and spark a multi-billion-dollar surge in tax revenues, the study said.

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