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The U.S. economy will be marginally stronger in 2016, according to the UCLA Anderson Forecast. Real gross domestic product is expected to swing up 3.1% next year and 3.4% in 2016.

By Tiffany Hsu
September 11, 2014

California’s “painfully plodding” economic recovery will continue its slow march through 2016, according to the quarterly UCLA Anderson Forecast.

The third-quarter report, released Thursday, predicts that the state unemployment rate will sink to 5.7% by the end of 2016 from 7.4% now. That would continue to top the national rate, which UCLA economists expect will fall to 5.3% from its current 6.1%.

The recovery in Los Angeles, although it has quickened in the last two years, continues to trail the state and nation because the city and county economies plunged more deeply during the recession.

As of July, payroll jobs in both Los Angeles county and city had yet to reach pre-downturn levels; employment in the city is lower than it was in 1990, according to UCLA economists. The city’s unemployment rate is 8.5%; the county’s is 8.1%. Moreover, many residents are underemployed.

Katie Badger, 24, is among those struggling to find a place in the L.A. economy. A college graduate working as a barista, she relies on finely honed budgeting skills to stretch her paycheck enough to afford her West Hollywood rent.

“Things are super, super tight,” Badger said. “You have to constantly be on the lookout for two part-time jobs that will mesh well.”

A week and a half ago, she started looking for supplementary work as a secretary or receptionist, sending at least one resume or application a week. Only one company has responded.

“There’s a lot of people who you wouldn’t expect competing for these jobs — a lot of middle-aged people who are trying to obtain the same sort of entry-level job,” she said. “It makes it difficult for younger people like myself.”

Another “fly in the ointment,” according to Nickelsburg: weakness in the world economy.

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