New local economic forecast based on misleading numbers
November 6, 2010
By KAREN VELIE
Economists hired by business leaders in San Luis Obispo County said the local economy appears to be showing signs of recovery while providing seemingly misleading numbers to attendees at the first annual Central Coast Economic Forecast held at Embassy Suites on Friday.
According to Brad Kemp, an economist with Beacon Economics in Los Angeles, the local unemployment rate had fallen from 10.7 percent in August 2009 to 9.9 percent in August 2010, demonstrating a county in the early stages of economic recovery. However, the adjusted unemployment rate for August 2010 is 10.3 percent, according to the state’s Employment Development Department report.
Each month, the state provides preliminary unemployment numbers that often change after further review. In addition, the numbers regularly zig zag up and down throughout the year.
Kemp told the audience that employment gains in the manufacturing and construction industries provide further evidence that the county’s economic downturn appears to have ended.
However, according to the state’s Employment Development Department’s monthly reports, approximately 400 people lost jobs in the construction industry from August 2009 through August 2010. During the same time period, the number of local manufacturing jobs remained primarily unchanged.
Kemp also said that tourism driven by the area’s wine industry was helping to fuel the economy. He did not mention that 700 people employed in the hospitality industry lost their jobs from August 2009 through August 2010.
The September preliminary unemployment rate sits at 10 percent.