Inland California's economy is falling further behind the rest of the state and faces at least six more years before it fully recovers from the recession, according to a new forecast.
The latest UCLA Anderson Forecast, to be released today, says inland California's woes will drag down overall state growth. Statewide unemployment, currently 12.1 percent, will remain in the 12 percent range through the end of next year, writes senior economist Jerry Nickelsburg.
His report spotlights interior California's shortage of industries poised for a sharp and quick recovery, like tech and other relatively healthy sectors located on the coast.
"The gap between the two Californias is likely to widen," he writes. He believes inland California's economy will muddle through until 2017 or later.
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Inland California's bread-and-butter industries, centered around housing and driven by population growth, are effectively shut down for several more years, he said.
There's no obvious spark to "drive the inland part of the state out of the doldrums," Nickelsburg said in an interview.
Sacramento's unemployment rate last month fell below California's – 11.9 percent vs. 12.1 percent. But for the most part, economic growth has been stronger on the statewide level than in Sacramento and the rest of the Central Valley.
A separate forecast today, from Los Angeles consulting firm Beacon Economics, also predicts slow growth but dismisses the possibility of California entering a double-dip recession.
"The recovery continues to plug along, though not at the pace that we would like to see," writes economist Jordan Levine. "This recovery was always going to be a slow one."
While UCLA forecasters see unemployment remaining above 10 percent until 2014, the Beacon forecast is more optimistic. It projects unemployment falling to the 9 percent range by 2014.