California

By Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Posted: 09/29/15 – 6:13 PM PDT |

California’s economy has made significant strides in recent years with most regions of the state recovering all of the jobs they lost during the Great Recession.

That assessment is included in a new report from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. The agency’s Economic Forecast and Industry Outlook for 2015-2016 will be unveiled today at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel.

The study notes that, with an estimated gross state product of $2.3 trillion in 2014, the Golden State had the eighth largest economy in the world, ranking just behind France and Brazil.

California is expected to add 386,400 jobs next year with the biggest gains coming in administrative and support services, professional, scientific and technical services, and leisure and hospitality.

“We have a high-flying economy at the state level that is being pulled along, in part, by the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area,” said Robert Kleinhenz, the agency’s chief economist. “But it’s much more diverse than that. In Southern California we find biotech, pharmaceuticals and entertainment as well as Silicon Beach. And then we have a significant agricultural sector that feeds not only the state, but is an essential link to the food chain that supplies the nation and the rest of the world.”

All told, California accounts for more than 13 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — the biggest single contribution of any state. And California firms have attracted venture capital funding that has equaled or surpassed the amount received by companies in all of the other 49 states combined.

But there are challenges.

The unfunded liability of state retiree health care costs remains a concern, critical infrastructure projects continue to be deferred and there is a severe shortage of affordable housing — particularly in metro areas that are seeing the fastest rates of job growth.

“The cost of housing has historically been high in California — roughly double the nation’s median price,” Kleinhenz said. “We’ll be hearing more about inadequate housing, and affordability will fall.”

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