California’s Economy: Mixed Bag?

150 150 Ed Coghlan

California’s economy is improving but job creation continues to be a problem. The California Legislative Analyst’s Office issued a report last week that says the economic data are currently providing mixed signals.

There is good news. Job growth and economic confidence are rising. The employment increase is “one of the most tangible signs that the state’s economic recovery is picking up steam”, according to the report.

There are still storm clouds on the horizon. Unemployment remains stubbornly high at 11.1 percent. There are also wide differences among regional job markets. For instance, unemployment in the Central Valley and the Inland Empire is worse than in the coastal areas of California. All told, there are two million Californians out of work.

“We can do better in the state which is one of the reasons that we are proud to sponsor the California Economic Summit this spring,” said Jim Mayer, Executive Director of California Forward.

The California Economic Summit is an unprecedented effort to develop a cohesive job creation and competitiveness plan with input from local, regional and state leaders. The Summit will be held May 11 in Santa Clara. A series of 14 Regional Forums are scheduled in advance of the Summit to set priorities and gather input from local business leaders.

“The idea of the Summit is to take what we have learned and to inspire and create sustainable growth in California,” added Mayer.

The state needs it. The Legislative Analyst’s Office indicated that the state’s housing market remains very troubled and will remain a drag on the state’s economy for some time. And when housing lags, it hurts construction-related employment which remains very weak, although it is expected to start picking up later this year and in 2013.

But not all the news is bad. Corporate profits continue to grow sharply. California-based Apple, Inc . is now the most valuable company in the world and was making about $1 billion per week during its most recent fiscal quarter.

The Regional Forums sponsored by the California Stewardship Network have already begun in California. Chico and Sacramento have held their regional forums. The next forums scheduled are on Friday, March 9 in San Diego and Monday, March 12 in San Franciso.

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Photo credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Ed Coghlan

All stories by: Ed Coghlan