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RCB_20121031_NEWHOMES_0003.JPGMost California workers are payroll employees of private businesses, and the rise, fall and slow recovery of that employment during the last decade is laid out in a new Census Bureau report.

The report -- which excludes government workers and the self-employed from its calculations -- reveals that in 2001, there were 806,733 "business establishments" employing 13.2 million Californians and paying them $521.8 billion a year.

Five years later, during an historic housing boom that helped drive the state's unemployment rate below 5 percent, there were 878,128 businesses with 13.8 million workers, and payroll outlays hit $633.8 billion.

As the housing bubble burst, however, the state slid into its worst recession since the Great Depression, and the statewide unemployment rate surged over time to more than 12 percent. By 2010, the number of employers had dropped to 849,875 and business employment had declined to 12.5 million - a decline of 1.3 million workers - but payroll costs were virtually the same at $635.6 billion.

The latest employment data files for 2011 show a slight uptick from 2010 as the state's economy began to recover. In 2011, there were 849,316 employers with 12.7 million employees, and they were paying out $663.6 billion in wages and salaries.

PHOTO CREDIT: Construction workers smooth out foundations at a new housing development in Folsom. Renée C. Byer / Sacramento Bee file, 2012



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