By most recent count, the Great Recession has resulted in a loss of more than 1.4 million payroll jobs in California. Beyond the job losses, though, the Great Recession also has brought changes in the structure of work in California. It will be some time before we recognize the full extent of these changes. But one is likely to be the continued weakening of the employer-employee structure that characterized work in California for more than four decades after World War II.
Author: Michael Bernick
If there is any symbol of Labor Day 2010, it is the NUMMI plant closing and re-employment effort in Fremont, California. In March of this year the New United Motors Company (NUMMI) in Fremont closed. It was employing around 4700 workers in recent years. It was the last automobile plant in California.
In almost every recession, experts and laypeople alike begin to think that California is undergoing a fundamental structural shift that will mean a permanent loss of jobs. It looks as if employment growth will never come again. Until it does.
The number of unemployed in California, the rate of unemployment, the average duration of employment: all of these indicators have risen dramatically since 2007. However, there is a less-known job indicator that also has risen dramatically and may have more to do with stalling a job recovery in California than any other: the number of workers involuntarily working part-time.
The number of long-term unemployed in California has now reached a level roughly equivalent to a city the size of San Francisco. And more and more of them are workers with backgrounds in financial services, computer operations, commercial and residential real estate and human resources. Each of these jobs usually attracts tens or hundreds of applicants when an opening is announced.