As plans for the first ever California Economic Summit on May 11 are crystallizing, there is increasing evidence that California’s economy is beginning to perk up.
California manufacturing jobs are getting a much needed boost thanks to an increase in the exports of California made products. According to Beacon Economics, ten thousand manufacturing jobs have been added since February 2010.
It’s important to remember how critical these manufacturing jobs are. In fact, a steel manufacturing executive in Fontana told us that one manufacturing job at his company develops seven other supporting jobs in the local economy.
News from other sectors of the economy also are promising. In the Inland Empire, which has been hit as hard as any region in California, there is evidence that the housing construction industry might be ready to recover.
Doug Henton, of Collaborative Economics, spoke at many of the regional forums held around the state. He quotes figures which indicate that the state has lost 700,000 construction jobs since the housing bubble burst. This is an area that, if bolstered, can help the state and the country recover.
Another very positive sign is a study commissioned by American Express that says California small businesses are expecting to add jobs this year. Of the businesses polled, 37 percent say they expect to add jobs in the next six months!
These are examples of the type of good economic news that California has been waiting to hear for some time now. But it’s not to say that the economy has turned; too many Californians are still out of work, or are “underemployed.” In fact, California’s unemployment rate is still third highest in the nation at 10.9 percent.
The first California Economic Summit is tackling the big questions of how California can better create jobs and improve our global competitiveness.
The Summit will be looking at: how we prepare our workforce; how we can improve our infrastructure; how we can encourage innovation in a state that practically invented it; and how we can make sure that our government regulatory process can both encourage economic development and protect our way of life.
Let us know what you think can be done to improve California’s economy.