Below are two quotes from this article:

“We’ve actually walked through this horrible recession with our economic base unscathed,” said Stephen Levy of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.

“The core of the California economy is still in place,” said Chris Thornberg of Beacon Economics in Los Angeles.

With all due respect, I think these respected economists are being a bit optimistic. I’d go so far as to say that California is wounded, maybe by friendly fire, but wounded all the same.

Here are the initial three paragraphs from another article this weekend:

While his forklift crews removed tons of chip-production machinery from a shuttered factory in Hayward, trucker George Lawson bemoaned the fact that his company has been ripping out a lot of industrial equipment these days and shipping it – and the associated jobs – out of California.

“I call it my wrong-way business,” said Lawson, 56, president of Lawson Drayage, a Hayward firm that specializes “in moving things of unusual size, weight and dimension.”

Lawson is the third-generation head of a family business he runs with his brother, Robert.  As one of a handful of truckers with the equipment and know-how to move heavy machinery, Lawson has a bird’s-eye view of the region’s industrial landscape.

This is anecdotal of course, but it is consistent with data. California’s domestic migration has been negative for years now. California’s share of United States jobs has also been declining. It peaked in 1990 at about 12.5 percent, fell dramatically, crawled back up to over 11 percent, and was stagnant there for several years. It has been declining the past few years and is currently a bit below 11 percent.

The 1990’s recovery in California jobs was because of the bubble, and it was only the housing bubble that kept California’s share of United States jobs around 11 percent over the past decade. I’d say that bubbles have been California’s economic base for the past 20 years. Let’s hope the foundations of the next one are not already in place. Absent a bubble, California’s economy is likely to lag the United States economy.