The recession isn't over yet in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. _ The layoffs tapered off in July and the economy seems poised for recovery.

Except in California.

Wall Street and the White House celebrated a relatively upbeat national unemployment report Friday, marked by lower-than-expected job losses in July and an actual dip in the unemployment rate.

But there was little joy in California, where the job loss has been relentless and where economists said the state is likely to lag behind the nation when the upturn gets under way.

One reason is the astonishing depth of California's real estate slump. Though the market is starting to improve, it's done so much damage to construction, consumer spending and other key sectors that recovery will come slowly.

Another reason is the huge drop-off in international trade, which is punishing California's ports. And, for good measure, the state's worst-in-the-nation budget problems will prolong the recession here.

"In California right now, it's really hard to see any areas of strength," said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at California State University's Channel Islands campus. "It's hard to be optimistic."

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