LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 14: Monica Ratlift, a fourth grade teacher at San Pedro Elementary School, holds a sign urging stimulus package spending to help save school jobs as teachers and supporters demonstrate while the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education meets to discuss a proposal to eliminate thousands of jobs in hopes of closing a $718 million budget gap April 14, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The jobs of 1,996 elementary school teachers have been spared from the budget-cutting axe but about 6,000 employees, including more than 1,600 teachers, face pending layoffs. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Numbers lie. And so does today's new state job report -- which shows a net gain of more than 28,000 non-farm jobs in May and an improvement in the state unemployment rate, from 12.5 to 12.4 percent.
The problem? When you dig into the statistics, there was a gain more than 30,000 temporary federal jobs -- census workers. Remove that figure -- as we should -- from the data, and the state lost jobs again.
What's most frustrating is that California -- with all its advantages, from its weather to its position on the Pacific Rim to the diversity of its population -- lags the rest of the country. We have the third highest unemployment rate, and in our inland counties, total economic desperation.
Worst of all, it's not clear that anyone has a strategy for doing anything about it. Federal leaders have been loathe to provide California with any more assistance than was in the stimulus bill last year. And the state government is so broke that it's making matters worse with spending cuts and revenue increases.
On that happy note, have a great weekend.