California tends to have the reputation of being Ground Zero for all sorts of problems, but there have been a lot of positive signs in the past couple of years. Exports are at an all-time high, for example. Many people do not realize that we are the biggest producer of rice in the United States, and perhaps you have heard of our wine industry? There is almost nothing that grows in the United States that is not grown in California.
This rebound is starting to include construction. The state Employment Development Department reports that 53,000 construction jobs have been added in California during the past two years. While the number of construction jobs is well below the peak of 2006 (as seen in the graphic below produced by the San Francisco Chronicle) the housing bubble was still in effect back then. Construction employment will not reach those levels again for quite some time, if ever.
Nevertheless, California is embarking on a +$100B high-speed rail project this summer, and if Gov. Jerry Brown has his way, a $11B water diversion project in the delta area may start in 2014. Construction employment numbers should continue to improve for the next several years for these reasons alone.