Staffing firms and job specialists are seeing an uptick in California companies hiring, especially in the technology, healthcare and hospitality sectors.
Their on-the-ground perspective is in line with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday that the Golden State employment rate fell to 8.6% in May, down from 9% the month before.
“California is really kind of hitting its stride and turning the corner,” said Joanie Ruge, an employment industry advisor for job site Monster.com. “California has had lots of challenges over the last few years, but most of the economic indicators we are seeing -- especially with the job market, and the housing and retail sales coming back -- it seems to indicate that we are turning the corner in the job market.”
Ruge said Los Angeles and San Francisco are the No. 2 and No. 3 top job markets for Monster.com, right behind New York City and ahead of Chicago and Philadelphia.
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Technology -- and the demand for software and Web developers -- is leading job growth on Monster, Ruge said. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act is spurring a boom in healthcare jobs such as doctors, nurses and physical therapists.
Brandi Britton, a district president of professional staffing firm Robert Half International, said the company has seen growth over "a number of sequential months and quarters."
There's robust demand for entry-level college graduates that is still growing faster than demand for experienced managers, Britton said.
She attributed that to cutbacks during the recession that forced many higher-level employees to take on administrative or clerical work; now that times are improving, businesses are hiring young workers who are easier to integrate into the company.
But the company has placed more experienced workers of late, Britton said. "What is healthy to see is, we are starting to see more of a pickup in senior-level management positions."
Part of the recovering job market can be ripple effects seen from a pickup in housing, she said, which bolsters the need for loan officers and the like at banks and other financial service companies.
But Britton cautioned that the California job market will probably still see slow and steady improvement, instead of rapid growth.
"It's not 2006 or 1999, although it certainly feels like each month gets a little better," she said. "We are not at champagne and caviar yet."