(photo credit: Sancho McCann)
Put a Google Alert out with the search term “California Economy” and be prepared for all the good news. You heard right..good news.
There is a growing perception that our giant, beleaguered economy is turning around. And that perception is being formed by the fact that economic indicators are definitely improving.
The respected Christian Science Monitor said the state is on the comeback trail, highlighting the improving unemployment rate which has dropped from a near-worst 10 percent plus during the Great Recession to 8.5 percent last month–which dropped the state to ninth highest in the country. The Monitor even wonders out loud if other states can follow California’s recipe for recovery. When’s the last time someone said that about our state?
Another recent story, this one written for Fox and Hounds by the Governor Brown’s Senior Advisor for Jobs and Development, Mike Rossi, makes the case for doing business in the state. Rossi is understandably a little touchy about the perception that California is still struggling because of its anti-business policies.
You would expect Rossi to be a bit of a cheerleader (“California remains a place where the next big idea isn’t just being dreamed. California is where it’s being done”). That’s part of his job, but he points out that the Governor’s trade mission to China, regulatory modernization, tax breaks for manufacturing and other achievements are all geared to improving the state’s business climate.
Nationally, President Obama was saber rattling at Congress today on the economy, saying that “Washington has taken its eye off the ball” as he tries to change the national conversation back to the one issue that everyone worries about–jobs and the future of our economy.
Back to California, not all are convinced we are out of the woods.
Our friend at Pepperdine University’s Public Policy School, Dr. Michael Shires warned in the Christian Science Monitor story that the state is a long way from a full recovery:
“The government sector is still living well beyond its means with billions in unfunded pension liabilities and a workforce demanding more in salary and benefits to offset the last few lean years,” said Shires. “Momentum is still not there to drive the recovery forward. The state’s eventual recovery is also dependent on a national economy that is currently propped by aggressive Fed policies and a relatively calm international finance scene. Disruptions in either of these could easily send the trend the other way.”
Meanwhile, from the California Economic Summit, seven Action Teams are beginning their work on the key Signature Initiatives that have been identified to help continue this improvement in our economy. Those initiatives are Advancing Manufacturing, Infrastructure, Workforce Development, Regulatory Modernization, Access to Capital, Housing and Working Landscapes.
They will bring their work to Los Angeles on November 7-8 where hundreds of Californians will meet to make recommendations about how to improve our state’s economy and our ability to create middle class jobs.
The environment for the Summit is admittedly, much more positive than it was when the first statewide Summit was held in San Jose in May 2012.
The important goal is to keep the momentum going.
By the way, how much do you know about California? The Christian Science Monitor included an online quiz about the state in its story. A warning…it’s not easy.