Is California’s Economy Swell?

Bill Watkins
Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University

Every now and then, something happens to cause California’s comfortable establishment to celebrate the state’s economy.  Recent budget surpluses and jobs data have provided several opportunities, never mind that these are hardly summary statistics.  They don’t tell the complete story. The celebrants conveniently ignore California’s nation-leading poverty, huge inequality, persistent negative domestic migration, and the […]

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Conferences and Progress

Bill Watkins
Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University

Californians attend innumerable conferences on housing and economic growth.  Year after year, in counties across California, the same people show up to say and hear the same things.  Mostly what they say and hear is naive, and nothing ever changes. I was reminded of this when I saw a report on what appears to have been a […]

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When Stocks Drop, California Suffers

Bill Watkins
Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University

I recently made a couple of tweets/Facebook posts pointing out that market declines threaten California’s budget surplus. I referenced articles in the WSJ and Bloomberg, and I thought the observation was non-controversial—almost banal. So I was surprised at the feedback. One person asked why. Another said it doesn’t mean anything until holders of declining assets cash out. Yet […]

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Wealth and Poverty in California and Tennessee

Bill Watkins
Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University

Over the past 18 months, I’ve spent a lot of time in East Tennessee, Appalachia if you will. You can’t avoid poverty in East Tennessee. It’s pretty much everywhere. A large, and obviously expensive, home may have a trailer next door, a trailer so dilapidated that you are sure no one lives there. But, someone […]

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21st Century California Careers

Bill Watkins
Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University

California is undergoing profound change.  Most strikingly, people are leaving the Golden State, which was once the preferred destination of migrants worldwide.  California’s domestic migration has been net negative for over 20 years.  That is, for 20 years, more people have been leaving California for other states than have been arriving from other states.  The […]

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The California Economy: A Strength vs Weakness Breakdown (Part. 2)

Bill Watkins
Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University

The problem with analyzing California’s economy — or with assessing its vigor — is that there is not one California economy. Instead, we have a group of regions that will see completely different economic outcomes. Then, those outcomes will be averaged, and that average of regional outcomes is California’s economy. It is possible, even likely, […]

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The California Economy: When Vigor and Frailty Collide (Part. 1)

Bill Watkins
Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University

California is a place of extremes. It has beaches, mountains, valleys and deserts. It has glaciers and, just a few miles away, hot, dry deserts. Some years it doesn’t rain. Some years it rains all winter. Those extremes are part of what makes California the attractive place that it is, and, west of the high […]

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California Is in for a World of Hurt

Bill Watkins
Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University

California’s political class, led by Governor Brown, has been patting itself on the back for solving California’s problems. This celebration is ludicrous.  What they’ve done amounts to a mere slowing down in a long-term political, fiscal, and demographic decline. Demographic trends themselves are creating a crisis brought about by a population that is simultaneously losing […]

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How California Lost its Mojo

Bill Watkins
Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University

Crossposted on newgeography The preferred story for California’s economy runs like this: In the beginning there was prosperity.  It started with gold.  Then, agriculture thrived in California’s climate.  Movies and entertainment came along in the early 20th Century.  In the 1930s there was migration from the Dust Bowl.  California became an industrial powerhouse in World […]

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No, It’s the Deniers who Are Wrong

Bill Watkins
Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University

Crossposted on newgeography Dennis Meyers is the Principal Economist at California’s Department of Finance. He has recently published two parts of what is promised to be a four-part series titled The Declinists are Wrong. He intends to convince us of “the fundamental strength of the Golden State’s dynamic and vibrant economy.” I was going to […]

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