Los Angeles

California’s economy will grow faster this year than the national economy, according to a new study. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Natalie Kitroeff
April 6, 2016

California’s economy will grow faster this year than the national economy, and unemployment will drop to 5% in early 2017, according to a new report by the UCLA Anderson Forecast.

Personal income in California will increase more slowly than it has in recent years, when the state’s economy was bouncing back from the high unemployment of the recession.

In 2016, personal income in California will grow 3.6%, compared with 4.5% in 2015, the report said.

“It’s not worrying. It’s actually an encouraging sign,” said Jerry Nickelsburg, an economist at UCLA and coauthor of the report. “The fact that we are getting close to full employment means we should be growing at a slower rate, unless there is a faster growth in innovation and capital accumulation.”

Unemployment is expected to hit 5% in the first quarter of 2017, he said. The jobless rate in California was 5.5% in February.

Wages and salaries in the state, not adjusting for inflation, will grow about 5.7% this year, according to the projections. That’s down from 7.5% last year. That means Californians will earn $60 billion more in wages than in 2015.

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