Get used to it.
Unemployment inched up in California and Sacramento last month, state officials said Friday -- further evidence that the economy has settled in for a slow, unspectacular recovery.
The statistics didn't indicate another free fall. But they generated little hope that the economy is poised for an immediate liftoff.
"We're going to see this for some time," said Michael Bernick, a fellow at the Milken Institute think tank and former director of the Employment Development Department.
In its monthly jobs report, the EDD said statewide unemployment grew two-tenths of a point in July, to 12 percent. The number of payroll jobs, considered a more reliable barometer, actually grew. But the increase was a modest 4,500 jobs, a fraction of the 30,400 jobs created in California in June.
The new numbers pushed California back to the 12 percent threshold for the first time since March. They also left California with the nation's second highest unemployment rate, behind Nevada's 12.9 percent.
In the four-county Sacramento area, unemployment rose one-tenth of a point to 12.5 percent.
The region lost 10,400 jobs. The loss was mostly seasonal, as thousands of teachers were let go at the end of the school year.
But it was also indicative of the school district budget cuts and pink slips of recent times. The cutbacks were very high by historical standards, said EDD labor market analyst Justin Wehner.
Some 13,000 local education jobs disappeared in July, leaving school districts with 10 percent fewer employees than a year ago.
"It is consistent with what has been happening lately," Wehner said.
One bright spot: Sacramento's leisure and hospitality sector, which includes restaurants and hotels, added 2,100 jobs in July. That's far more than usual.
All told, however, there was little worth cheering. Most economists say it's unlikely the economy will lapse into another recession. But they don't see a meaningful uptick in growth soon, either.
Howard Roth, chief economist at the state Department of Finance, noted that California has added an average of 16,000 jobs a month in 2011.
That's more than twice as many as last year, but not enough to put a big dent in unemployment, he said.
"It's still small and it's got to get bigger," he said of the latest job growth.
Individual sectors have shown promise, including technology and entertainment. Eight of 11 major sectors added jobs in California last month.
Overall, though, "nothing is going gangbusters," said Dennis Meyers, another economist with the Finance Department.
A few major employers in California continue to trim payrolls. Cisco Systems Inc. issued 5,600 pink slips this month, including 79 in Rancho Cordova. Bank of America announced 3,500 layoffs Friday but refused to say where they'll occur.
Among California's unemployed population, about one-third, or 727,000, have been unemployed for a year or longer. Not surprisingly, the labor force has shrunk in recent months as tens of thousands have stopped looking for work.
Debra Morgan of Sacramento is among the discouraged.
"There's no jobs, there's no money," said Morgan, 51, who was at the EDD's employment center on Broadway on Friday.
Morgan has been unemployed off and on for several years. She last worked in April and has decided that her best option for finding a job is to go back to school. She wants to get into the medical-billing field.
Another Sacramentan, Jabari Sekou, 50, dropped by the EDD center to finalize an extension on his unemployment benefits. He quit his job as a teacher to avoid getting laid off and went to work for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. About a year ago, the utility laid him off. Now Sekou says he might go into business for himself.
While he has religious faith that "employment is (available) somewhere," he said Sacramento's economy "looks pretty scary."
Weak economic growth is putting pressure on the state budget -- a huge factor in the health of Sacramento's economy.
After several months of growth, July tax payments came in $500 million below forecast. And because much of the income tax is paid out of wealthy Californians' investment gains, the turmoil in stocks will make it even harder for the state to hit its ambitious revenue targets.
"The odds for that are tougher than they were a few weeks ago," said Jason Sisney, finance director with the Legislative Analyst's Office. "The next few weeks of economic news could be critical."
The Dow Jones average fell another 172.93 points Friday.
Most Popular Stories
- Accenture Gets 8 Percent Bump in Q1
- Insurance Rule Change Angers Industry
- Alex Kinsey, Sierra Deaton Crowned 'X-Factor' Champs
- Revised GDP Up 4.1 Percent in 3rd Quarter
- Obama Opens Last-Minute Loophole in Insurance Law
- Obama's Dad Was Abusive Drunk, Half Brother Says
- Time No Longer Stands Still for Cuban Entrepreneurs
- Brian Boitano Announces That He Is Gay
- Little Risk of Deportation Under Obama
- Renewable Energy Group to Acquire Syntroleum