Unemployment stays high – It’s time for action!

150 150 Ed Coghlan

Construction jobs in California were one bright spot in the state, adding 8,900 jobs in the January 2012 time period.
(Photo Credit: Tomas Ovalle)

When the California Economic Summit convenes next month in Santa Clara, there will be one topic on everyone’s mind: How do we improve job creation in California?

When you look at the numbers you can see why. The recession has done a number on California and that number is nearly 900,000 lost jobs. (To get an idea of how many people that really read this list of city populations in the U.S.)

Now, we aren’t here to say it’s hopeless. It plainly isn’t. In fact, UCLA’s Anderson School in its quarterly report sees an improving California employment picture and thinks in the next couple of years the rate will drop below 8 percent.

That is good news because the latest numbers show the unemployment picture stubbornly high at 10.9 percent. By the way, if you are a Californian in your 20s, the unemployment rate is double that number at 20 percent. So young people in particular, who are the future of California, are paying particular attention to the importance of job creation.

The numbers are breathtaking. But Californians are taking action. Over a dozen Regional Economic Forums have been held around the state in anticipation of the first State Economic Summit on May. Because California is so big and so diverse, it is not absolutely accurate to say we have a state economy. We have a series of regional economies. For instance what drives the economy in the San Joaquin Valley is much different than what happens in the San Francisco Bay Area which is different from the Inland Empire which is different from Los Angeles which is different…..well, you get the idea.

But there are common economic themes and the Summit will explore those with representatives from each of the regions and state officials at the Summit. Those themes are:

• Workforce Development
• Infrastructure Improvement
• Innovation Encouragement
• Regulatory Refinement

“California’s economy is regionally diverse and the Summit recognizes that,” said Laura Tyson of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and is former Chair of the U.S. President’s Council on Economic Advisers under President Clinton. Ms. Tyson is one of the co-chairs of the Summit.

By the way, when you talk about the Summit you’ll notice that we call it the “first” Economic Summit. The sheer size and the complexity of California’s economy demand that this type of review and analysis take place every year.

We invite you to join the dialogue!


Ed Coghlan

All stories by: Ed Coghlan