Last updated: May 10, 2011 - 8:43am
California's economic recovery is kicking into higher gear, with unexpectedly strong job growth propelled by a pickup in technology hiring, as the nation's biggest and richest state starts to beat back its formidable budget deficit.
The state added 90,600 jobs in the first quarter, more than the increase of 82,600 for all of 2010, according to seasonally adjusted data from its Employment Development Department that exceeded most analysts' estimates. That put California, a poster state for American economies hobbled by the housing bust, above the national average, with a year-over-year increase in employment of 1.2% in the first quarter, compared with 1% nationwide. And it puts a balanced budget within dreaming distance. California's deficit stood at $26 billion just a few weeks ago, before lawmakers agreed to $11 billion in spending cuts. If the jobs machine keeps revving, it could shave as much as $6 billion off the remaining $15 billion deficit through fiscal 2012, said Justin Garosi, an economist for the Legislative Analyst's Office.
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