Kurgman has had several recent blog entries and an op-ed ( http://tiny.cc/7S3of ) on the virtues of government debt. He compares the current stimulus to that of the 1930’s, WWII, and the Cold War. He provides the “comforting” statistic that we had government debt of 109% of GDP at the end of WWII. He argues… Read more

The current economic downturn is a serious one, especially for coastal California counties. Los Angeles County also experienced a serious and prolonged recession in the early 1990s. The early 1990s United States economy experienced a cyclical economic downturn while Los Angeles County also experienced a major downsizing of its aerospace and defense industries. The contraction of… Read more

In November of 2008, we substantially revised our forecast of mid-year 2009 California year-on-year job growth from a fall of about one percent to a fall of about five percent. At the time, we felt like we were in the midst of a regime-shift to a different state of economic affairs. This new state was… Read more

The Employment Development Department’s July 2009 Ventura County jobs report, released Friday, is depressing. From the household survey we see that the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate rose from June’s 10.3 percent to 10.9 percent in July. However, Ventura County’s July seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate usually increases in the summer, due to school closures. Another way… Read more

The Pacific Research Institute released a new study yesterday. The report, titled “Assessing the State of the Golden State,” analyzes indicators for income, labor, migration, and entrepreneurship and compares California to every other state. Here’s a link to the report: http://tiny.cc/huFh5 How does California rank in this study? The short answer is poor. By these… Read more

This is a slow week for economic news. I was thinking about how different things are from last August. Last year we were approaching the most serious economic crisis of our life. Economic storm clouds were building, the government was bailing out firms, and everyone was preparing for the worst. Except, September was worse than… Read more

Two Los Angeles Times articles today highlight California’s problems. One article discusses the falloff of activity at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports (http://tiny.cc/eFHbx). The other discusses the expected closing of California’s last auto plant (http://tiny.cc/ini6Z). Some would argue that these events reflect the worldwide economic decline and have little to do with California.… Read more

The Fed announced that it would stop purchasing U.S. Government debt by October 2009. This is an important decision. The purchases, designed to lower long-term interest rates, have been a “lifeline” for cash-strapped companies and households. The FED is assuming that the recession is over and excess liquidity can be withdrawn from the economy. If… Read more

Most people are concerned about potential inflation, but deflation is the immediate worry. It is easy to see why the concern for inflation. Big deficits and big increases in the monetary base usually lead to inflation. However, inflation is not inevitable. For inflation to occur, increases in the monetary base have to be translated to… Read more

Be wary of pundits who claim that the worst of the financial crisis is behind us. We have yet to feel the full impact of problems in the commercial real estate sector. The decline in economic activity has lead to higher vacancy rates and lower lease rates. Together, these factors reduce the cash flow generated… Read more