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Valley economic recovery slow, but on its way, finds report

POSTED July 20, 2012 6:51 p.m.

The Central Valley economy is continuing to gradually recover, and will slowly grow for the next two years, according to the latest California State University, Stanislaus Business Forecast Report.

The report, drafted by endowed professor of business economics Gökçe Soydemir, updates his inaugural report from November 2011.

The updated report largely assesses the accuracy of the initial release, while adding forecasts through 2014. Soydemir notes his initial forecasts were off by less than 3 percent, better than expected.

Most notably among new findings, total San Joaquin Valley employment grew by 0.82 percent in 2011 – the first growth in employment since the 2007-2009 recessionary period. All areas of employment appear to be growing – even construction – save for the public sector, where education jobs are particularly hard-hit.

Employees remain frustrated with the job market, however, as most positions are not full-time or full pay. Though about 120,000 jobs are added per month nationally, a deficit of 12 million jobs remains.

In Turlock and Modesto sales tax receipts and property tax collections began to recover in 2012, showing a stabilizing pattern. Other Valley cities, like Stockton, actually worsened.

But trends point toward an economy slowly gaining strength, Soydemir finds.

“Yearly comparisons of incoming numbers reveal the recovery in the Valley is slowly taking hold, including financial and construction sectors,” Soydemir wrote. “Most notably, the Valley economy began catching its long-term mean, showing slowly strengthening performance. Many analysts agree that we are approaching ever closer to a turning point in the housing market as builders slowly begin to construct new dwellings.”

The recovery is expected to pick up steam in the latter half of 2012 and the first half of 2013, Soydemir forecasted.

 

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