Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Economic Research

Western Economic Developments December 1996

Date of Publication: 1996-12-01

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Executive Summary

  • California’s pace of job creation continues to exceed the national rate, and the state unemployment rate is trending downward.
  • The Intermountain states of Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah are the top tier among U.S. states in terms of the pace of job creation in the twelve months ending in October.
  • Employment growth in Washington state has accelerated to a 4 percent pace this year, equaling the rate of job growth in Oregon. The Pacific Northwest is the second-fastest growing region in the country, closely behind the Intermountain states.
  • Residential real estate markets have been strong in the Intermountain and Pacific Northwestern states. In California, home sales volumes and prices have been weak until recently, discouraging homebuilding and undermining the consumer spending of homeowners with negative equity. However, California real estate market conditions have improved recently, particularly in the San Francisco Bay area.