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Cautiously optimistic about signs of economic recovery

POSTED May 23, 2014 11:02 p.m.

As we recover from the recession we have to be careful  to not celebrate too early.  Who can forget the 2005 College Football National Championship game between USC and Texas when Reggie Bush was running down the field for a certain touchdown, started dancing around and ended up fumbling the ball before he made it to the end zone?  USC had an exceptional team that year.  Had Bush scored that touchdown, USC probably would have won the national championship.  Instead, Texas got the ball back and ended up scoring the winning touchdown while running out the clock.  I have learned to never spike the ball on the 5 yard line.  That being said, it appears that the economy is improving. 

In the weeks ahead we here at The Stanislaus Alliance will be introducing an economic dashboard showing how Stanislaus County is faring in various economic indicators.  It will give you a signal on what's happening in our local economy.   As many of you know, we have been conducting in-house surveys with base employers.  We are close to having completed 90 surveys.  The companies range from one employee to hundreds of employees.  Of the 80 plus companies we have surveyed, more than half of them are planning to expand in the next year.  That means they plan on adding new jobs and investment.  We haven't interviewed one employer yet that is planning to reduce its workforce.

Having done these surveys in the past and in different markets, we can say that we are ahead of the curve in terms of the percentage of companies planning to expand.  But we have many more surveys to complete before we will have a totally accurate picture.  So we remain cautiously optimistic.  Once we hit 100 surveys completed, we will start releasing some reports.  We are getting close.  On the business recruitment side, we know about three big announcements that will happen in the next few weeks.  The three companies combined will create more than 500 new jobs.  We know about several retailers who are considering coming into our county.  Steven Ames, our Chief Business Development Officer, just returned from Las Vegas where he and other local partners, including Patterson City Manager Rod Butler, attended a national retail conference and held meetings with several retailers who expressed interest in our region.  He and his team are now working those prospects.

We hope you are aware of our Jumpstart Stanislaus campaign, an effort to put long-term unemployed individuals back into the workforce.  We have already made you aware of the first component of the campaign, the On The Job Training component.  Employers who hire eligible persons who are either veterans or long-term unemployed individuals can qualify for wage reimbursements up to 90 percent for a period of time.  But this is just the beginning!  Stay tuned.

 

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