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Economists see brighter future for state economy
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — California's economy should improve with its nearly 11 percent unemployment rate falling to 7.7 percent in less than two years, according to UCLA's quarterly Anderson Forecast.

However, some areas won't return to pre-recession levels for four years, according to the report.

California's 10.9 percent jobless rate is expected to fall to about 7.7 percent by the end of 2014, through "continued slow steady gains in employment through 2012... (and) faster growth in 2013 and 2014."

California's unemployment rate remains nearly 3 percentage points above the U.S. unemployment rate, the report found. Historically, the state's rate is the same or slightly above the national rate.

"To be sure unemployment rates in the Golden State are very high, but labor markets here are also clearly on the mend," the report found.

Los Angeles, with an unemployment rate of 11.8 percent, is a weak spot. Its labor market isn't expected to fully recover until 2016 because of city budget problems, the housing crisis and a high number of uneducated residents.

San Francisco Bay Area growth, led by technology, continues to outpace the nation. Other parts of the state, including San Diego and Orange County, have also seen a boon from tech jobs.

Job growth in the Inland Empire and the Central Valley has been led by the retail sector — which can be unreliable for sustained growth — as well as health care, business services and hospitality.