The December California jobs report, out today, shows that the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate held steady from November at 12.4 percent. The year-on-year job declines subsided from November’s -4.2 percent to -3.9 percent in December. The annualized month-on-month job decline, which is very volatile, worsened from -1.5 percent in November to -3.2 percent in December.

Almost two-thirds of California’s 600,000 fewer jobs from December 2008 are accounted for by losses in only four sectors: Construction (-116,000), Manufacturing (-106,200), Trade (-109,200), and Professional/Business (-90,400). The public sector lost more than 44,000 jobs from December of 2008.

California’s job market appears to be bumping along the bottom of this recession. The question for the next year is the balance of public versus private sector. The private sector does appear to be improving while the public sector will likely worsen due mostly to budgetary problems at the state level. Given that the private sector is 83 percent of the total, it is likely that the improving private sector will offset the worsening public sector at a rate that implies that overall jobs will improve. However, these are just improvements, as year-on-year job growth will remain negative for at least a few more months.