Posted by Bruce W. Woolpert on Mar 18, 2015


"I think that I heard the most accurate description of the current state of the economy recently from a bank economist. He said that the „economy is skirting across the top of a double dip recession,‟ said 


We need to keep in mind that it is not unusual for an economy to slow, or sputter, during a post-recession recovery for one or two quarters. Stronger growth has followed such soft-patches. What makes this soft-patch a greater concern is that Consumer Confidence has fallen significantly in recent months which will make it more difficult for the economy to continue to recover. Americans are growing increasingly pessimistic about the Country‟s direction. I do believe that Washington needs to stop the anti-business rhetoric and actions like those by the NLRB in some recent decisions including the Boeing case in South Carolina. Business leaders are truly unnerved by what‟s going on in Washington," summarized Bruce. "As California has one of the highest unemployment rates, our Governor and Legislature need to make dramatic effective changes that return California to being the best place to start and grow a business; employer surveys over the last five years show that Cailfornia is one of the least desirable places to do business."

More information is coming out about employment. There is good news especially for many of Graniterock‟s market areas. In an article in the Sacramento Bee, the author researched "hiring hot spots" across the U.S. The author writes: "There really are jobs out there, just not enough of them." It‟s true: America‟s bleak economic landscape includes pockets of prosperity. Factories are expanding in the Sacramento area, the Rust Belt and elsewhere. The tech sector is humming, from Silicon Valley to North Carolina. Las Vegas Casinos are hiring again. High energy prices are creating work – in obvious places like Oklahoma and Texas. The health care sector remains fairly strong just about everywhere. A boon in shale oil, plus strong crop prices, have driven unemployment in North Dakota to 3.3%, the lowest in the country." The article explains that U.S. manufacturing strength has been greatly aided by the weak U. S. Dollar which makes our goods and services more price competitive when sold as export. As a result, shipments from California‟s ports have returned to pre-recession levels. "San Jose, the center of Silicon Valley, has posted robust job growth of 3.6% in the past year. Unemployment has dropped a full point to 10.4%." The article states that Silicon Valley tech companies are being very selective in their hiring – "If you‟re not an A player, if you‟re just average or mediocre, you‟re not going to find many opportunities."

The August job data confirmed that the "soft patch" is still with us. Employment was unchanged in August; zero new jobs were created on net. Overall, national construction spending remains even with one year ago. Economists agree that government could help boost employment greatly if an effective program was introduced to help families remain in homes in which the mortgage owed on the house exceeds the house‟s current market value. In past recessions, renewed housing construction activity has been very important in pushing the economy out of recession and stimulating employment growth. The housing sector not only helps the construction sector, but also related sectors such as consumer good, furniture, and household appliances," said Bruce.


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