This piece was originally published on the California Economic Summit blog
When the presumptive GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney took a pot shot at the California Economy this week, likening it to Greece, he was trying to make political points no doubt. For much of the nation, to make fun of California is good politics, although certainly not in California! But Governor Romney may be missing the point of what appears to be a slowly mending California economy.
Here are some examples of how things may be looking up:
There’s news this week that California’s job growth is expected to continue. The state’s economy added 38,000 jobs in June, more than any other state (take note Governor Romney!). Chapman University’s Anderson Center for Economic Research predicted this week that the California job growth will continue. Here’s the wrap-up from the Riverside Press Enterprise.
You may remember from last spring’s first California Economic Summit in Santa Clara that the issue of workforce preparation was a marquee topic. In fact, of the seven signature initiataives that were adopted by the Summit, the issue of workforce preparation drew more attendees than any other topic. Here’s a link to the Action Plan the Summit adopted.
When you talk with people who hire, you often hear that they can’t find people who are qualified and then often, after they have trained them, they are snapped up by a better paying competitor. And this is not a California problem. It is a national problem. Many believe that the California Community Colleges, who have been hit hard by budget cuts in recent years, might be a primary answer to addressing this “skills gap” that is evident in the economy. This recent success story about the community colleges in the Central Valley is an example of what can happen.
Another ray of good news is the report that California home prices increased eight percent last month. That’s the biggest increase in seven years. Now, we know that those prices are a statewide statistics and in some areas prices are still lagging, but if the housing prices continue to rebound, we may see a rebound in the construction industry. California lost 700,000 construction jobs when the housing bubble burst, one reason the state sustained double-digit unemployment once the recession hit.