January 2011 Archives

January 13, 2011

California Exports Surging, but not adding to Job Growth

In November, Calilifornia posted its 13th consecutive month of year-over-year increases in export trade according to Beacon Economics, which analyzed foreign trade data from the U.S. Commerce Department. California businesses shipped abroad in November $12.49 billion in goods, exceeding by 14.1 percent the $10.95 billion shipped in November 2009. It was California’s best November ever in inflation-adjusted terms, Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ international trade adviser, said in a news release.

The good news was tempered somewhat by the fact that California did not quite keep pace with the nation as a whole which boosted its merchandise exports by 19.4 percent. Also, California has a relatively high percentage of re-exports, which are items previously imported into the United States that have had no significant value added prior to being shipped abroad. “California’s numerous trading companies do a superb job sourcing goods from around the world and matching them with foreign customers,” O’Connell said. “That’s why California’s re-export trade leaped by 36.3 percent in November.” Exports of goods manufactured in California, meanwhile, increased just 6.7 percent. Overall U.S. manufactured exports, in contrast, jumped 16.7 percent, O’Connell reported.

California made up 11.1 percent of all U.S. merchandise exports in November, but just 9.6 percent of its manufactured exports, Beacon reported. California’s exports of nonmanufactured goods represented 12.4 percent of the nation’s exports of those goods, but fully 19.8 percent of the nation’s shipments of re-exported goods came from California.

As a result, California’s export trade has a less immediate positive impact on the state’s economy and on its propensity for job creation, O’Connell said. “California manufacturers have become exceptionally efficient in increasing output without adding new hires,” O’Connell said in the release. “And the goods they produce tend to be of increasingly higher value. That’s why it is possible for the value of our manufactured exports to rise without there being a commensurate level of job growth.”

That also explains why California lost 4,400 manufacturing jobs between November 2010 and November 2009, based on seasonally adjusted numbers from the California Employment Development Department, despite California adding 110,900 jobs overall, O’Connell said.

Filed under California Economy, Freight and Logistics by

January 19, 2011

California Wines Marketing Campaign Launched

The Wine Institute, a California Trade Group, has launched a new global marketing campaign intended to boost California wine exports. Using the tagline “Discover California Wines” the campaign will incorporates images of the state’s famous landmarks and will feature print advertising, brochures, video and trade show attendance. The campaign is scheduled to debut at several 2011 events, including The London International Wine Fair, Vinexpo and the California Wines European Spring Tour.

The Wine Institute—which manages its own international marketing and shipping export program—will provide campaign materials to winemakers, importers, retailers and restaurateurs actively pushing California wine overseas. “The ‘Discover California Wines’ campaign gives our international representatives the tools they need to build California wine sales exponentially around the globe,” said Robert Koch, president and CEO of The Wine Institute. “We’re setting an ambitious goal of more than doubling California/U.S. wine exports to $2 billion by 2022.”

Filed under Agriculture and Food, Wine by

January 21, 2011

UCLA Forecast cautiously optimistic about California Economy

Economic activity is increasing across a number of important sectors in California, according to the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast for California. The outlook for an expansion of the workforce shows momentum building into 2012, according to economic models presented by UCLA Professor and Senior Economist Jerry Nickelsburg. He suggested that statewide unemployment would drop to 11.4% by the end of this year and 10.3% in 2012. It is presently, 12.4% “The forecast also suggested that the unemployment rate for some of the hi-tech driven coastal communities could fall as low as 8.5% next year, and to 7.4 percent in 2012.” Professor Nickelsburg reported that job creation has been positive, especially in coastal California, for much of the calendar year, while inland communities are still under high unemployment pressure. However, job creation still remains below levels expected in a well-functioning job market. Even with a large deficit, looming record pension debt, and high unemployment, “California is economically much better off than the 10 most populous states – maybe even Texas,” Nickelsburg also indicated that the data does not support the mass exodus of businesses to other states outside California, which is suggested may be a myth.

Filed under California Economy by

January 22, 2011

Grameen America to open California branch with Cheveron, Wells Fargo investments

Chevron Corporation has committed $1 million to Grameen America to fund the launch of its West Coast branch in the San Francisco Bay Area. Grameen America plans to help as many as 250 local borrowers and distributing more than $300,000 in microloans the first year of operation through its Bay Area branch. Grameen America will target low-income clients who cannot access traditional credit.

Since 2009, Chevron has committed $7 million each year through the California Partnership, increasing Chevron’s overall investment in the state to approximately $28 million year-over-year. Chevron has also partnered with Kiva.org and the Opportunity Fund to help support entrepreneurs in California and around the world.

“The economic slowdown has made it especially difficult to secure funding for Bay Area small businesses and entrepreneurs, often a catalyst for job creation and economic growth for the state,” said Stephen Vogel, CEO of Grameen America. “Chevron’s support will help hundreds of entrepreneurs realize their dreams of starting their own businesses.”

In addition to the investment by Cheveron, San Francisco based Wells Fargo has also invested $1 million into Grameen America to support the nonprofit microlender’s expansion into the Bay Area.

Filed under Banking and Financial Services by

January 25, 2011

California Unemployment still going up – now at 12.5 percent

The California unemployment rate rose to 12.5 percent in December, up from 12.4 percent the previous month, The Los Angeles Times noted. California’s unemployment rate is now among the highest in the country, trumping the national unemployment rate by nearly 2 percent. California employers added just 4,900 jobs in December, the Employment Development Department reported, after adding 30,500 the month prior. The biggest losses were seen in the government sector, which shed 15,400 jobs. Overall, California has added a total of 87,500 jobs in 2010. The openings came mostly from professional and business services; education and health; and leisure and hospitality. Although the additions are not enough to lower the unemployment rate, it is an improvement compared to 2009 when the state lost 836,000 positions.

Filed under California Economy by

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