City planners and private developers in Sacramento envision a downtown shopping and entertainment hub pulsing with revenue and pedestrians. The mind’s eye replaces vagrants with decorative park benches and rundown storefronts with shiny new facades. And rather than dispersing at sundown, restaurant patrons and theatergoers would linger into the wee hours.
Even in the best economy, employers fight a financial tug of war with the people who work for them. One side wants more pay and benefits while the other side wants to trim costs. When the economy takes a nose dive, though, the tug of war can get a lot rougher. State and local government jobs are getting much of the attention in Sacramento this year as furloughs and layoffs have increased tension with workers. But Sacramento’s private sector has seen temperatures rise, too.
In October 2007, 60-year-old Francisco “Willie” Lopez was doing what he had done almost every morning for 30 years. He pedaled along County Road 99 from Woodland to his job in the finance department at UC Davis. A car hit and killed him on that country road before he made it to his desk.
Red Hawk Casino opened in December, just weeks after economic woes sent the stock market plunging. The launch of the new venue just off Highway 50 coincided with a sharp drop in gross gaming revenue at Nevada’s Lake Tahoe casinos, and California casinos also felt the sting as gamblers gave Red Hawk a try.
Nearly 70 percent of California’s high school foster youth dropped out last year. Of the 10 percent that make it to higher education, just 3 percent are likely to graduate.
This summer, the Milken Institute released its second report on manufacturing in California. Seven years the institute sounded the alarm that California was losing its manufacturing edge, the driving force for postwar prosperity from the aerospace industry through high technology. The institute said policy makers should pay attention to the state’s manufacturing decline.
With the national economy stumbling along like a wounded animal, the only steady growth these days is in the number of workers being shown the door. But while layoffs can be demoralizing, those workers who remain on the job may find “the Great Recession” to be a huge career booster.
Many things can claim victim status in the wake of the current economy, but local MBA programs aren’t one of them.
Despite significant tuition costs, ranging from $12,000 to $40,000, MBA programs are at worst holding steady in enrollments, and many are actually enjoying surges — not just in applications but in qualified applications.
California is running out of money, pure and simple. As we go to press, the state is finalizing the budget and lurching from one financial crisis to the next thanks to elected leaders who put politics above fiscal responsibility.
Late on a work night, Amy Mathews picked up her ringing BlackBerry to find a frantic customer on the other end. On an airplane nearing departure for Buenos Aires, a woman realized her debit card was on the verge of expiration. She would be out of the country for weeks without an easy way to access cash. Mathews knew she held the solution in her palm. From her BlackBerry, the corporate banking manager at Mechanics Bank fired off a couple emails and got a new debit card ordered in minutes.