L to R: Miller, Emmerson, Jeffries, Nestande, Hollingsworth
66th District Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries recently hosted a Legislative Summit on Jobs and Regulations in California. Held in the Riverside County Supervisors Chambers, the dais included Jeffries, 65th District Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, 64th District Assemblyman Brian Nestande and 71st District Assemblyman Jeff Miller along with Senate Republican Leader Dennis Hollingsworth.
During the 3 hour meeting, the Legislators listened much more than they talked as they heard from 3 separate panels of local business leaders and nationally recognized relocation consultant Joseph Vranich.
Of the 10 panelists who testified, Southwest County was well represented by 5 individuals including; Roger Ziemer, Southwest California Legislative Council; Ben Drake, Drake Enterprises, Inc.; Roy Paulson, Paulson Manufacturing Corp; Juergen Wohl, International Rectifier; and Douglas Plazak, Reid & Hellyer.
Industries from agriculture to media, Chambers of Commerce to Building Industry, trucking to manufacturing were present to voice their concerns with current state regulations and make suggestions on what California needs to do to regain a pre-eminent role in our nations economy.
Mark Christiansen, Deputy Director of the Riverside County EDA Workforce Division, started the discussion citing some current statistics for the county including the unemployment rate of 15.1%, up from 14.3% in December. This compares to a national unemployment rate of 9.7%. But these 137,000 unemployed people in Riverside County don’t count the additional 9.3% of the people out of work longer than 26 weeks who are effectively out of the market or the 9.4% part-time or under-employed. If you’re doing the math that means about 33% of our workforce is either unemployed or under-employed. It’s even worse in some central-California regions.
Christiansen also pointed to 73,000 jobs lost just over the past year including 15,500 construction jobs with no rebound in sight yet. When queried, he could point to no ‘hard results’ from the Federal stimulus moneys received by the county, saying that had actually led to ‘layoff aversion’ and re-education programs as well as some youth training to make our younger workforce more employable when things pick up.
Continued in part 2.