California is still #1 ...Posted by Jack Stewart, President on May 11, 2010
…..as the worst place in America to do business, a ranking it’s held since CEO magazine began surveying CEOs in 2005. Not only does California’s business climate rank worse than every other state, but California ranks far below the national average in every category tested, from taxes to regulations, to workplace quality to living environment. In only one sub-category, Arts & Culture (ranked lowest in importance to CEOs), California surpasses the national average.
This is not new information, every few weeks we see a new poll or survey ranking California’s business climate at or near the bottom. Texas, on the other hand, has consistently been ranked as the best place to do business by CEO magazine. One CEO’s comment was particularly revealing, “Texas is pro-business with reasonable regulations while California is anti-business with anti-business regulations.” That’s quite a reputation for a state that desperately needs a surging economy to make up a $20 billion general fund budget deficit, close a $500 billion public pension fund deficit, reduce a 12.6% unemployment rate and deal with a persistent $6 billion annual fund imbalance.
Well, if the state is doing badly, surely there must be positive signs of economic recovery in some of California’s world class cities and counties. Not so fast. While much of the nation is beginning to show signs of recovery, California is still trying to find the bottom. Two recent reports shed light on the economic growth potential for California’s regional economies.
In March, the AP Stress Index ranked all 3,086 counties in the U.S. on the impact of the current recession and potential recovery. Not a single California county made the top 20 list of least stressed counties, but 11 California counties we’re included in the 20 most stressed ranking.
Even more disturbing is a new ranking of the 2010 Best U.S. Cities for job growth by newgeography.com. The study ranks the nation’s 397 SMSAs (Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas) on current, mid-term and long-term employment growth rates. The only two California SMSAs to make the top 100 are Hanford-Corcoran and Medera-Chowchilla. The second rank of 100 SMSAs include El Centro and Bakersfield-Delano. The first large California city on the SMSA list is San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City ranked at 271. San Francisco (271) is followed by San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara-Carlsbad (297), San Diego-San Marcos (299), Sacramento-Roseville (322), Los Angeles-Long Beach (352), Santa Ana-Anaheim (353) and Riverside-San Bernardino (359).
Joel Kotkin opines on the findings in an article in Forbes Magazine titled The Worst Cities for Jobs. Kotkin writes, "And then there is California, which by all rights should be leading, not lagging, the current recovery. Statewide unemployment, already at 12.6%, has been rising while most states have experienced a slight drop. Silicon Valley companies, Hollywood and the basic agricultural base of the state remain world-beaters. But the problem lies largely in an extremely complex regulatory regime that leads companies to shift much of their new production and staffing to other states, as well as foreign countries. The constant prospect of a state bankruptcy, in large part due to soaring public employee pension obligations, does not do much to inspire confidence among either local entrepreneurs or investors."
Kotkin concludes, “Hopefully, this will be the year when Californians decide that it needs an economy that provides opportunities to people other than software billionaires, movie moguls and their servants. It will have to include much more than the endlessly hyped, highly subsidized 'green jobs.’ More than anything, it will take rolling back some of the draconian regulations – particularly around climate change legislation – that force companies, and jobs, to go to places that, while not as intrinsically attractive, are far friendlier to job creating businesses.”
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Career Tech Education: Valued? First to go?Posted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on April 1, 2008
Tokay High School students and teachers, and the Get REAL coalition (coalition website) will appear in a last ditch effort to save their construction technology program and prove the value of these courses. They improve dropout rates, positively affect young lives, and provide a valuable skilled workforce to the local community.
Lodi has already cut two CTE courses in automotive and drafting education.
The first government programs and services gone in difficult times are always ones we don't value. Tonight, we'll see just how much the Lodi School District values a program that everyone agrees increases opportunity.
View Coalition Advisory
View Coalition handout
UPDATE: April 3 -- Students, teachers, employers and State Board member Jim Aschwanden showed up to beg the district not to cut this program. The Lodi School District Board members tabled the vote but their comments, albeit positive regarding overall career technical education, indicated that budgetary constraints and remediation needs most likely will prohibit them from continuing the program.
Related media: Lodi Sentinel News
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Manufacturing productivity gains at DST Output in Northern CaliforniaPosted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on March 19, 2008
DST Output provides integrated print and electronic billing statements to many of the country's largest financial services, communications, healthcare, and utilities companies.
DST Output's Top 10 accolade was impressive but it was their exponential and jaw-dropping productivity growth over the last four years that gave me pause and once again made me ponder the old mantra, productivity gains = unemployment.
Get this: DST Output's facility in El Dorado Hills is printing more than 32 million images a day .... and those are all variable images with complex and different billing data on each one. This was unheard of in the industry just four years ago when DST output was printing only 17 million images a day. Even more, these increased images are printed on fewer printers. 90 fewer to be exact -- down to 10 from 100. I asked what happened to the number of employees. Guess what. They actually remained about the same ... possibly even added a few. Go figure.
Simply put, in four years, they nearly doubled production, used 90 percent less machines and at least kept the same amount of employees.
This is a reminder that California companies are doing more with less, and keeping our economy going with good paying technical careers. More product ... more training ... less waste. More technology ... less consumer product cost.
We need to do everything we can to supply our new and existing lean manufacturers with a skilled and ready workforce and, during the current economic downturn, we need to make sure the State's business costs compete with the rest of the nation so more California workers can find family-wage jobs like the one's at DST Output.
Read Industry Week's write up
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"It's the Economy, Comrade"Posted by Jack Stewart, President on Jan. 25, 2008
Navarro's economic advice to the presidential candidates of both parties is "if we truly want to restore the health of the American economy, we must resuscitate our once dominant manufacturing sector and reclaim those jobs lost to China." Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and California legislators should take heed.
Navarro's Opinion in SF Chronicle:
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