California's economy will continue to shed jobs at a rapid rate through the rest of this year and the job picture will remain flat for 2010. Growth will only resume in 2011, according to the latest UCLA Anderson Quarterly Forecast to be released early Wednesday.

The state's unemployment rate will top out at 12.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 and fall back slightly to an average 11.6 percent for 2010, the forecast states. It reached a post-World War II record 11.9 percent in July, according to figures released last month by the state Employment Development Department.

This represents a slight improvement from UCLA Anderson's bleak forecast issued three months ago. Since then, national consumer confidence ticked up quicker than expected, forecast author Jerry Nickelsburg wrote in the report. Also the economies of California's major trading partners have started to recover sooner than had been foreseen.

"We're running about a month or two ahead of where we thought we would be in terms of the economic recovery," Nickelsburg said in a phone interview.

Nickelsburg said that Los Angeles County is poised to recover at a slightly faster pace than the rest of the state. The county has higher percentages of jobs in certain sectors, such as science and technology, which Nickelsburg said are expected to help drive the state and national recoveries.

L.A.'s downside will continue to be the transportation/logistics sector, which has been hammered by the sharp drop in imports as U.S. consumers have cut back on spending, he said.

Nickelsburg said the economy will pose tough challenges before growth starts kicking in around the fourth quarter of 2010. State and local governments, hit by falling income and sales tax revenues, will contract sharply over the next year, acting as a drag on recovery.

"By the beginning of 2011 we will get off the tarmac and begin to grow at more normal levels," he said.

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