June 2009 Archives

June 15, 2009

Global recession batters California’s ports

California’s ports are getting quieter and the state’s huge export slump is getting worse. According to a report in the Sacramento Bee, exports from California fell 25.5 percent in April from a year earlier, figures compiled Wednesday by Sacramento trade consultant Jock O’Connel reveal. The shipments from California’s ports, totaling $9.25 billion, represent the worst April in four years. Earlier this year, exports were falling at about a 20 percent rate. O’Connell said the new figures show a turnaround is a ways off despite signs on the national level that the economy might bottom out soon. O’Connell told the Bee that the export decline was widespread. The volume of cargo leaving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach was off 18 percent. Exports from San Francisco International Airport fell 34 percent. For the state, April marked the sixth straight month of declining exports. O’Connell added that imports at California’s ports fell 28.5 percent, demonstrating the global spread of the recession.

Filed under California Economy, California Ports by

June 16, 2009

U.S. refuses California emergency financial assistance

The Obama administration has refused requests for emergency assistance from senior State government officials. Calling California, “one of the biggest remaining threats to the economy” the Washington Post reported that top state officials have gone hat in hand to the administration, armed with dire warnings of a fast-approaching “fiscal meltdown” caused by a budget shortfall. Concern has grown inside the White House in recent weeks as California’s fiscal condition has worsened, leading to high-level administration meetings. But the Post reported that federal officials are worried that a bailout of California would set off a cascade of demands from other states. The administration is also concerned that California will enact massive cuts to close its deficit aggravating the state’s recession and further dragging down the national economy. After a series of meetings, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, top White House economists Lawrence Summers and Christina Romer, and other senior officials have decided that California could hold on a little longer and should get its budget in order rather than rely on a federal bailout.

Filed under California Economy, California Government, California Politics, U.S. Government by

June 24, 2009

California jobless rate hits 11.5 – biggest in State history

California’s unemployment rate climbed to 11.5 percent in May, the highest in modern record-keeping, the U.S. Department of Labor has reported. Last month, California lost 68,900 jobs, and in the past 12 months a staggering 739,500 jobs have disappeared from the state. If you include part-time workers seeking full-time work plus workers who have given up looking for traditional employment, the jobless rate could be as high as 25 percent, exceeding the national unemployment levels in the worst part of the Great Depression. Economists project that the layoffs will continue to rise at least through the end of this year and probably into 2010, even if the economy starts to recover.

Most of the cutbacks came from government: 11,400 job cuts in federal government and 2,800 from state and local agencies, as municipalities scaled back their services to cope with the crippling effects of tax declines and budget cuts. Adding to the decline in government employment, every major job category lost jobs in May except for education and health care, which added 2,100. Construction companies cut 11,300 positions; manufacturing, 10,400; professional and business services, 10,900; retail, wholesale, transportation and utilities, 8,300; leisure and information, 8,100; and hospitality, 2,700.

As shocking as these numbers are, what is even more shocking is that the State Government doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it, as they are mostly concerned with their own survival. Early indications are that the Obama administration stimulus money is going mostly to save the jobs of existing State workers and bureaucrats, who are already doing relatively well. Very little of the funding seems to be going into job creation, economic development or innovative programs to help small business.

Filed under California Economy, California Government by

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