The Bay Area Economic Institute compares the current recession with the bubble burst of 2001, and makes projections for regional impact. The overall unemployment rate in the region will rise from the 4 percent level it hit in 2006 to over 7 percent, on par with the peak hit in 2003 and 1992. The overall increase is smaller than in the 2001 downturn—but this is largely due to the fact that the area’s economy is not dramatically overheated at the moment. The good news is that in 2010, the economy that emerges from the downturn will be much more competitive. The general drop in land prices will take much of the strain off local businesses that compete in the global marketplace, not only from an overall cost perspective, but also in their ability to attract the best workers from around the world. The Bay Area continues to have one of the brightest futures of any economy in the United States.
The California Research Bureau issues an update on foreclosures as part of a series of quarterly projections. CRB plans to follow the cycle until job losses abate and home prices stabilize, “most likely sometime after the second quarter in 2009.”
Women constitute only a small minority—just over 10%—of directors and top executives at the 400 largest public companies in California. Several studies have shown that having more women in the boardroom and executive suite makes a difference in corporate governance and company performance. UC Davis’s 2008 survey shows the proportion of women on the board of directors and top management teams did increase slightly since 2007.
Advancing Transportation Projects To Stimulate the Economy [Legislative Analyst's Office]
The Legislative Analyst’s Office proposes the use of revenue bonds backed by future gas tax revenues to accelerate 122 highway rehabilitation projects. If the Legislature agrees, look for a ballot measure seeking voter approval.
Within the context of a severe budget crisis and increasing concern about students’ preparation for postsecondary education and the workforce, the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning presents its 10th annual report on the status of the teaching profession in California.
Without States: Personalized Full Representation for California’s 21st Century [New America Foundation]
What if we accepted that small measures are inadequate for reinvigorating a stalemated state legislature? What if the situation calls for big ideas, radical proposals? The New America Foundation has one: Personalized Full Representation for the 21st Century (PFR21), “a system of representation by means of regionally based legislative elections that will allow the state’s citizens to set the agenda for their regions and for the state as a whole.”
The Public Policy Institute of California does the numbers on Proposition 8: Eliminating Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. A breakdown of the final vote by party, political ideology, presidential choice, religion, education, income, age, marital status, and race/ethnicity tells a story of a California with multiple divisions.
Health Insurance in 2007 – Recession Likely to Reverse Small Gains in Coverage [UCLA Center for Health Policy Research]
While 2007 saw small gains in the number of Californians with health insurance, data suggests that the recession of 2008 will reverse that trend. The safety net that Medi-Cal and Healthy Families have provided for many children and some adults will be in greater demand if the recession deepens and persists, as is expected.
Will there be enough college graduates to meet the needs of California’s future economy? The Public Policy Institute of California offers evidence of the future workforce skills gap and discusses the causes, magnitude, and likely consequences of the gap.
Martha Jones of the California Research Bureau reports on where state funds are spent, and documents an uneven distribution across regions. Data collection problems abound. Among her findings: “there seems to be a growing disconnect concerning the amount of local assistance reported by the state in the Governor’s Budget compared with the amount of state or federal aid reported as received by local jurisdictions.”