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New Normal of California Employment in 2014; Presents from Mr. Peguese

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director & Milken Institute Fellow

The New Normal of California Employment in 2014 will see a continuation of the steady payroll job growth we’ve seen since early 2010, as well as a continuation of the trend of part-time and contingent employment and independent contracting, replacing full time employment with benefits. Wage inequality will have a heightened profile in California, though the forces driving this inequality are far removed from state government.

This Friday, EDD will be releasing the final monthly jobs report of 2013. It will likely continue the trend of the past three years of steady job growth and reduction in the official unemployment rate.  Since February 2010, California has gained 868,300 payroll jobs, over 293,400 payroll jobs from October 2012 through October 2013. The unemployment rate has gone done steadily: 12.5% in October 2010, 11.5% in October 2011, 10.1% in October 2012, and 8.7% in October 2013.

Part time and contingent employment will grow. This past week San Francisco Chronicle Business columnist Andrew S. Ross reported that the staffing giant, Kelly Services, is connecting with Redwood City’s Odesk  to expand the role of freelancers. Other staffing companies are examining similar expansion, especially  with the coming employer requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Wage inequality has been in the news a lot in the past six months, and will continue its heightened profile in 2014. Last Friday brought announcement from State Senator Mark DeSaulnier that in the new year he will be heading an Ending Poverty and Inequality in California caucus.

Wage inequality is not a new phenomenon in California. It has been growing since the late 1970s, in our state as nationwide, during Democratic Administrations and Republican Administrations.  Further, the forces driving this inequality, principally globalization and technology, are not easier addressed by either state or federal government.

Still, as Mickey Kaus notes in a recent column, the issue is finding renewed attention.  In a  speech earlier this month, President Obama referred to wage inequality as the defining challenge of our time, and it has become a popular subject for conferences and papers among our California foundations.

Presents from Mr. Peguese

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 10.45.56 PMMr. Bruno Peguese is a graduate of the University of San Francisco (USF) and USF Law School, and  for many years has been  property development manager at the Bay Area Rapid Transit District. He is also the Fox and Hounds  music expert.  Each Christmas, he selects Motown songs that he promises will make you want to get up and dance.

The past few years, Mr. Peguese has brought us music from several male groups: the Spinners (“Rubberband Man”, “Working My Way Back to You”), the Winstons  (“Color Him Father”), the Isley Brothers (“This Old Heart of Mine”) and Four Tops (“It’s the Same Old Song”).

This year, Mr. Peguese directs us to a female group from the early Motown period: Martha and the Vandellas, and two of its early hits, “Heat Wave” and “Dancing in the Streets”. The group came together in 1962, and by 1964 had these two songs among the top of the R&B chart.

Try listening to this version of “Heat Wave” and tell me that you’re not up and dancing.

Or how about this version of “Dancing in the Streets”.

Like many Motown groups, Martha and the Vandellas went through numerous personnel changes in the late 1960s, before splitting up in 1972. Lead singer Martha Reeves went on to a solo career in the 1970s, and after battles with alcohol and drugs embraced Christianity in 1977.

Mr. Peguese says, let’s have a bountiful 2014.

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