California's collapse began before the Great Recession:
Another dark sign, largely unnoticed at the time: California's major cities became invalids in the 2000s. Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area had been the engines of California's economic growth for at least a century. Since World War II, the L.A. metropolitan area, which includes Orange County, has added more people than all but two states (apart from California): Florida and Texas. The Bay Area, which includes the San Francisco and the San Jose metro areas, has been the core of American job growth in information technology and financial services, with San Jose's Silicon Valley serving as the world's incubator of information-age technology. During the 1992-2000 period, the L.A. and San Francisco Bay areas added more than 1.1 million new jobs--about half the entire state total. But between 2000 and 2008, as Chart 3 indicates, California's two big metro areas produced fewer than 70,000 new jobs--a nearly 95 percent drop and a mere 6 percent of job creation in the state. This was a collapse of historic proportions.
I grew up in Los Angeles and loved it, but I could see the writing on the wall even five years ago. The recent re-election of Jerry Brown demonstrated that the citizens of the Golden State do not have any desire to change course.