California’s business climate – Is it the worst in the nation?

150 150 Ed Coghlan

Photo courtesty of Flickr user rsvstks

The short answer is no, but the nagging perception that the Golden State isn’t a good place to do business permeates the information world. Chief Executive Magazine rips the state, saying it is the worst in the country…and has been for eight years in a row.

Understandably, this rankles many Californians who think things are better than that. Not perfect, but better. They will point to things like The Public Policy Institute of California‘s report, which certainly didn’t put California first, but assured anyone who reads it that this state is far from last.  

The more recent, and we think important, research about our economy has been happening right under our noses, at the 14 regional rorums that were held around California in advance of next week’s first California Economic Summit, which is happening in Santa Clara on May 11. Real Californians on the front lines of their regional economies have been talking with each other about what needs to happen get this state’s economy roaring again. 

We know that the burst of the housing bubble hit our state particularly hard. A staggering 700,000 construction job have been lost since then, and the recovery in that sector has been slow, at best.

But we are seeing a rebound in manufacturing and agriculture seems to be improving while Silicon Valley remains our version of Detroit at its most robust. So all in all, things aren’t too bad in this state.

We also see unemployment dropping, another sign that we are, as the old saying goes, getting back to work. 

As we have been sharing with you for the past couple of months, when you talk about California’s economy, you don’t talk about a single economy. Our state is made up a series of regional ones that grow and contract at different times. 

The idea of the California Economic Summit is to harness that power. There are five main areas that the Summit will address because they have been identified as key areas to improve our economy. 

Better preparing our workforce, investing in infrastructure, encouraging innovation, streamlining regulation and improving access to capital will all be thoroughly discussed at the Summit and signature initiatives to improve each of those areas will be developed. Then, real Californians (we call them regional champions) will work to get these recommendations approved and implemented. It is a process based on action!

The Summit is not a one-time event, it is the continuation of a process that will occur every year as Californians continue to  educate their leaders about what needs to happen to make the Golden State “golden” again. 


Ed Coghlan

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