Though the job recovery in California will be a multi-year process, it is not too early to start thinking of what the job world will look like in California after the Great Recession. In this posting, I’d like to start by addressing the structure of jobs we are likely to see in California. In future postings I will address the likely impacts of the Great Recession on other dynamics of California jobs, including our job creation/destruction, movement among jobs, and breakdown of the traditional employer-employee relation.

Over the past 20 years in California we have had numerous ups and downs in our unemployment rate, and three major recessions. Yet, the industry structure has not changed dramatically. In 1990, California had a highly diverse economy, and it continues to have such an economy today. New employment sub-sectors will expand, such as alternative energy, energy conservation, and forms of information technology. But the great majority of jobs will continue to be spread among the 11 sectors that have formed the basis of California employment.

Economist Jacob Boyce of EDD’s Labor Market Information Division has compiled information on industry employment by sector. Above is the sector breakdown in July 1990, and below is the industry breakdown twenty years later in July 2010.

Manufacturing predictably has been the main job loser in the past 20 years, going from 15.71% of the jobs in 1990 to 8.93% of jobs in 2010. Educational & Health Services has been the main sector gainer, going from 8.94% of jobs in 1990 to 12.72% of jobs in 2010. All of other sector gains and losses have been within 3%.

This resiliency of the California industry structure is important to note for policymakers. It is even more important to note for young persons entering the labor force as well as for workers who might be considering new careers. Following the Great Recession, California employment will continue to be characterized by its diversity of sectors and occupations. The great majority of jobs and careers will continue to be in the sectors that are prevalent today.

There will even continue to be jobs in manufacturing. The death of manufacturing in California, talked about since the early 1980s, continues to be overstated. Manufacturing has gone down dramatically, but in October 2010 it still employed over 1,240,100 Californians. That’s a lot of jobs.