At Fox and Hounds, we have posted several times about the enormous volatility of jobs in California. This volatility divides into two parts: the ongoing job creation/destruction, and the on-going movement of workers, voluntarily and involuntarily, among jobs.

The latest Bureau  of Labor Statistics (BLS) report on job creation/destruction, issued on May 1, 2013 shows California’s job creation engine slowing slightly in the past year. Still, it was creating jobs at over 275,000 jobs per month in the latest quarter ending September 2012. Job destruction also slowed, and job losses were around 261,000 jobs per month in this quarter ending September 2012.

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The BLS does not break down worker movement on the state level, but the latest national data, shown here, continues to show the high levels of movement, and high levels of Hires. Yesterday, BLS issued its most recent Hires data for March, 2013. BLS data show 4.26 million Hires nationwide, or roughly 450,000 Hires in California.

For anyone looking for a job in California, or involved in assisting job searches in California, the Hires data do not connect easily with job search experiences. Finding any job in California today remains very difficult and challenging. With 450,000 Hires per month in California, the question arises why is it still so difficult to find a job today?

The most straightforward answer is that even though the Great Recession formally ended in June 2009, we continue to be in a period in which job seekers considerably outnumber jobs. According to BLS, the ratio of job seekers to job openings was 1.8 in December 2007, prior to the Great Recession, up to 6.2 by June 2009 when the Great Recession officially ended, and down to 3.1 in February 2013.

Yet, this answer does not seem complete. Job search today seems little improved from the Great Recession, with harsh competition for each job. I’d suggest there are two additional dynamics at play.

The first dynamic is the Hires data include a good number of short-term jobs, one month or less, and part-time jobs, and contingent jobs. Any addition to payroll is counted in the Hires column.

The second dynamic is that many of the placements today for California workers in their thirties and older do not feel like job placements because they are at wages far less than the worker’s previous job. A veterinary nurse with years of experience is offered a $9 per hour job; an experienced journalist formerly with a major newspaper is offered writing assignments at less than twenty hours; a former high level agency spokesperson is offered a project-based marketing role.  All positions worth taking to get in the door. None of us can be too proud these days. But not triumphant job placements.