The national economy may be seeing the first signs of recovery, but California's situation "remains predominately negative," the state's Department of Finance said in its December bulletin.

In November, "the jobless rate in the state was up to 10.1%, the highest unemployment rate among the large industrial states," the department said.

Retail sales remain sluggish, housing activity has yet to rebound, defense industry cutbacks continue to erode the high-technology job base, and recessions in other countries have limited opportunities for exporters, the department added.

Many of these situations are tied to longer-term restructurings, the department said, adding that the "actions are compounding the problems faced by business in the state and raising new questions about prospects for recovery in 1993."

Through November in fiscal 1993, which began July 1, state general fund revenues were $580 million below the May forecast, the department said.

In November alone, general fund revenues were $349 million less than the budget forecast of $3.34 billion. A shortfall in sales and used tax produced much of the shortfall, but the department said "the problem is not as severe as it would seem."

Much sales activity appears to have been pushed into early December because Thanksgiving occurred late in November this year, the department explained.

A task force in Los Angeles recently determined that about $100 million of public assistance is needed to spur construction of a financially feasible hotel near the city's expanded convention center.

Developers in past years backed off from plans for a major hotel near the convention center, citing concern that the hotel project would be too risky because of the need to locate it south of the heart of downtown.

The task force noted that a headquarters hotel near the convention center is essential to help compete against other cities for convention business. The expanded convention center is scheduled to open next summer.

The public assistance to encourage a nearby hotel could take many forms, according to local officials. The options include offering city land to developers, waiving various city fees, and increasing the redevelopment agency's spending limit so it can provide financial assistance.

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