REPORT: UCLA experts say housing woes shouldn’t cause California’s economy to plunge. By Gregory J. Wilcox STAFF WRITER The slumping housing market and rising foreclosures will further erode California’s economy until late next year or early 2009, but UCLA forecasters still maintain it will not tug the state into recession, according to a report to be released this morning. That’s because most business sectors will experience job growth, albeit anemic, said the quarterly UCLA Anderson Forecast that takes a more cautionary tone than past assessments. “With housing as weak as it is, the rest of the economy is going to keep its head above water. This is the glass if half full kind of a take,” said UCLA senior economist Ryan Ratcliff, author of the California report. However, the credit crisis that is strangling the mortgage market will provide a near-recession experience. Ratcliff said that the forecast takes into account the mortgage sector turmoil that has so far resulted in thousands of job losses and some major players going bankrupt or closing down. He also offered this caveat during an interview: “If it gets significantly worse than it’s been, then maybe that’s enough to push us into recession without another source of weakness,” he said. Ratcliff notes that the second quarter lived up to prior expectations – and that, he notes, is not a good sign. For example, the state’s unemployment rate continued to rise and hit 5.3 percent in July. “We can no longer regard this as (a) simple uptick,” he said. “Both the size (a half percentage point) and the speed of the increase since the end of 2006 are on par with what we saw at the beginning of 2001.” He expects unemployment in this cycle to peak at 5.9 percent at the end of 2008. The report also points out that payroll jobs grew by only 0.5 percent from this year’s first quarter to the second. Statewide, the financial services sector shed 5,500 jobs in the quarter and 11,500 were lost in construction. The number of construction losses was anticipated; the size of the financial sectors losses was not. But the combination of losses in these sectors coupled with sluggish growth elsewhere has been forecast for some time, Ratcliff said. That being the case, California should see job growth of only 1 percent through this time next year. “This prognosis is worse than previous forecasts, in part because of the worse-than-expected job losses in financial activities,” the report said. A clearer picture of the state’s economic future may emerge because it is still several months away from a big surge in the number of holders of adjustable rate mortgages who will experience an interest rate reset, the report says. That means foreclosures should peak in the first half of next year, the forecast predicts. And while the job numbers “are starting to look ominous,” other indicators still show strength. For example personal income growth has held steady since 2003 and may not slow for several quarters, the report said. firstname.lastname@example.orgWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
ANOTHER legislative season has come to an end, and – once again – the state’s legislative leaders have failed to reform redistricting. And even though the Legislature will keep on running in a special session, Senate President Don Perata, D-Oakland, has made it clear that redistricting won’t be on the table. “I’m not going to take it up,” Perata told the San Francisco Chronicle. “There is urgency in water and health care. There is no urgency in redistricting.” Well, maybe for him there isn’t. For the rest of California, however, there is much urgency. We are tired of a do-nothing Legislature that’s unaccountable due to gerrymandered districts. Under the current law, the Legislature draws its own boundaries. Politicians choose “safe” districts for themselves, in which one party dominates the voter rolls. That way, the incumbent party can never lose, and politicians need only appeal to the extremists in their base – and not the majority of voters – to hold on to office. Still, you would think Perata might take redistricting more seriously, seeing that in February, voters will decide the fate of a ballot measure that would water down term limits, thus allowing him to hold on to his office. The argument against term limits, after all, is that voters – and not the law – should determine when a politician’s career comes to an end. But absent redistricting reform, term limits are the only way to get a lifer out of office in a timely manner. By scuttling redistricting, Sacramento sends the message that it cares only about its own – a message voters would do well to remember during February’s special election. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Brazil figures to be quick and tricky Thursday when it meets the United States in Hangzhou, the last step to the final Sunday in Shanghai. The U.S. defeated Brazil, 2-0, three months ago in New York, a physical game played without Marta. The Americans also defeated Brazil in the 2004 Olympic final – 2-1 in extra time – and 2-0 in a group game in the Olympics. “Brazil’s primary tactic was fouling us to break our rhythm,” Ryan said, referring to the game three months ago. “We had more of the ball, and their response to that was just to foul. Brazil has tried to break our rhythm by chopping our players down.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I believe finally we will add one more star on our jersey,” Brazil’s Daniela said in a reference to the men’s team, which has won a record five World Cups. “We will finally get the World Cup.” The Americans, top-ranked and undefeated in 51 games, advanced Saturday by beating England, 3-0, on goals by Abby Wambach, Shannon Boxx and captain Kristine Lilly. Brazil won its quarterfinal Sunday, defeating Australia, 3-2, on Cristiane’s goal in the 75th minute, a rising drive from 20 yards off rapid-fire passes from Marta and Daniela. Germany defeated North Korea, 3-0, that day, putting the defending champion into a semifinal Wednesday against Norway and ensuring that three former champions will be playing in the final four. Norway beat host China, 1-0, on Sunday in Wuhan before a crowd of 52,000 that stayed until the end, waving flags and lighting flares as the Chinese made a last offensive push. By Stephen Wade THE ASSOCIATED PRESS TIANJIN, China – United States coach Greg Ryan is bracing for Brazil. He knows the rough semifinal will be smoothed only a bit by the artistry of Marta, the game’s best female player. The Americans have ambitions for a third World Cup title, following ones in 1991 and ’99. Brazil is in the semifinals for the second time, matching its run in 1999.
That said, other segments of the economy are still ticking along fairly well, albeit with a slump in retail sales attributed to the decline of housing-related purchases and a sense of foreboding among consumers that dampens their appetite for cars and other goods. “California is doing both better and worse than the United States,” says the Santa Barbara forecast, released last week. “The state is bearing far more of its share of the slowdown in residential real estate. At the same time, California’s economic growth has recently exceeded that of the United States.” The Santa Barbara analysis is similar in tone to those of other economic authorities, such as UCLA’s Anderson Forecast and the California Department of Finance. UCLA economist Ryan Ratcliff said, “California is in for at least another year of economic doldrums, with rising unemployment, weak job growth and a slowdown in all broad indicators.” However, Ratcliff added, “Without the emergence of a second source of weakness in the economy or a significant worsening of the real estate sector beyond what’s already being forecast, California will not sink into a recession.” When the end of the Cold War reduced defense spending in the early 1990s, Southern California’s aerospace industry, which had profited handsomely from the nearly half-century-long arms race, was hit hard, with hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs evaporating. A decade later, the dot-com bubble burst and once again it was California, especially the San Francisco Bay Area, that took the brunt as countless technology firms went under and billions in paper wealth vaporized. Bill Watkins, who runs the University of California, Santa Barbara, Economic Forecast Project, puts it this way: “California is always on the bleeding edge.” He and other economists are now wondering whether the implosion of the housing industry, another economic tsunami in California, will have a similar impact. Three-fourths of the nation’s foreclosure actions filed by lenders in August were in California, and the state has accounted for 40 percent of the nation’s decline in home sales since 2005. California, moreover, is the home of big-scale lenders, such as Countrywide, whose subprime mortgages have backfired. The Department of Finance, meanwhile, says in its most recent bulletin that “economic indicators were disappointing in July, a reflection of the worsening of the housing sector downturn. Payroll employment dropped, the state’s unemployment rate rose slightly, existing home sales slowed, and residential construction remained sluggish.” So there we have it – a slowdown of uncertain dimensions but stopping short of a genuine recession, coupled with what Watkins calls “a ton of uncertainty.” And not surprisingly it’s filtering into voters’ consciousnesses, as a recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California indicates. “A dark mood is settling over the Golden State as pessimism about California’s economic conditions hits its highest point since 2003,” the institute says in its analysis. “Housing woes and the spectacle of this summer’s budget battle are taking their toll on residents’ economic outlook – and affecting everything from trust in government to approval ratings of state and federal leaders.” The slowdown and the public’s darkening mood about it have potentially major effects on political policy. Even a modest slump could have devastating effects on a state budget that’s already running big deficits, and voters may be less likely to approve the financial issues that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers want to place on next year’s ballot – including taxes for expanding health care and perhaps education and water and other infrastructure bonds. Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
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Each week a leading band or musician takes our Starting XI Q&A. And this week’s it’s Mark Collins from The Charlatans…What’s your favourite talkSPORT Show and why?Any live football show. I like football.talkSPORT gives you your own show, what’s it’s called and what’s it about?Balls. Football and cricket.Who are the greatest football team in the land?Manchester United, of course.Who is the most rock ‘n’ roll player playing the beautiful game right now?It’s been pretty dull since Eric Cantona.If you were put in charge of the pre-match entertainment for the FA Cup final at Wembley, what band do you want playing live?Rolling Stones.Who’s gonna sing the National Anthem?John Lydon.What track are the players walking down the tunnel and onto the pitch to?Death Or Glory (The Clash).What’s on the stereo in the dressing room to psyche the players up?Motorhead.You build your own rock ‘n’ roll five-a-side team, who’s in it?70s Elvis in goal, Van Morrison, Morrissey, Debbie Harry and Prince up front.You get to pick one footballer to work as roadie with your band. Who is it and what do you have them doing? Lionel Messi, making tea.What’s going on with the band/for you as an artist at the moment?Playing festivals, writing songs, playing more shows and recording…..Ace! ‘It’s been pretty dull since Eric Cantona’ – The Charlatans’ verdict on rock ‘n’ roll footballers 1
Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere will be out for “a few weeks” with an ankle injury, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has said.The 23-year-old England midfielder’s career has been punctuated by injury and now he has suffered another – a hairline crack of his left fibula.Wilshere will miss Saturday’s Barclays Premier League season opener with West Ham and also faces missing England’s Euro 2016 qualifying Group E fixtures with San Marino and Switzerland next month.Wenger said on arsenal.com: “I had a bad surprise because it is a hairline crack in his fibula that makes him a few weeks out.”Reports had suggested Wilshere could be out for around two months, but Arsenal have not put an exact timescale on the injury yet.Wilshere missed last Sunday’s Community Shield defeat of Chelsea, the Premier League champions, after sustaining the injury in training the previous day.Wenger initially said it would be a “matter of days” before Wilshere returned, but it swiftly became apparent he would miss the Hammers clash – and now the prognosis is far worse.It is the latest worrying blow for Wilshere, who returned in May following another lengthy spell out with an ankle problem and has had numerous injuries throughout his career.Wenger added: “There is minimal damage apart from the bone damage – there is no damage at all apart from that.“It was a collision in training and it was all completely accidental.” Jack Wilshere 1
Lyon have knocked back a second bid from Tottenham for striking prodigy Clinton N’Jie.Mauricio Pochettino is desperate to bring the Cameroon international to White Hart Lane but the Ligue 1 side have rejected Spurs’ latest offer of £9m.It is claimed by L’Equipe that the French outfit are willing to cash in on the 21-year-old forward but only at the right price – with manager Hubert Fournier setting a valuation of £15m.Spurs are searching for striking reinforcements before the conclusion of the transfer window although they face competition from north London rivals Arsenal to sign N’Jie.The Lyon attacker is contracted to the Stade de Gerland club until 2019 and it is thought Spurs are poised to come in with a third and final offer before the weekend. 1 Clinton N’jie
1 Swansea manager Garry Monk Swansea have signed former Arsenal goalkeeper Josh Vickers.Vickers has been training with Garry Monk’s side since the start of July and has sufficiently impressed to be handed a two-year deal – subject to international clearance.The 19-year-old, who played in Swansea’s pre-season friendly against 1860 Munich in Germany last month, spent 12 years at Arsenal and links up again with his former goalkeeping coach Tony Roberts and first-choice keeper Lukasz Fabianski.“Tony called and asked if I would come in on trial,” Vickers told the official club website.“I know how much knowledge he has of the game, I have worked with him the last four years and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.“My aim here is to push on. I hope to be training with the first team most days and to feature for the Under-21s doing the best I can, and I think there is a chance for me to grow and develop here.”Vickers becomes the second goalkeeper to sign for Swansea this week, with Gerhard Tremmel returning to the Liberty on a two-year deal after his contract ended earlier in the summer.
Alan Judge 1 Brentford’s impressive summer signings are still settling in and will only get better as the season progresses, according to midfielder Alan Judge.The defeat to Hull City on Tuesday night ended a four-game winning streak for the west Londoners, who currently sit five points off the play-off places.That run of form came during a cruel succession of injuries, ruling out key players like captain Andreas Bjellend and ex-Chelsea starlet Josh McEachran.And Judge reveals there is still more to come from new faces like Maxime Colin and Liverpool loanee Sergi Canos, once they adapt to the rough and tumble of English football.“Maxime Colin, I like him,” Irishman judge said about the French defender. “He’s good on the ball and he knows how to tackle.“Sergi is so direct and we need that. The new players are settling in well but it will take time.“In some cases they have come from a country where you can barely touch a player to one where you can boot them six foot in the air. They will get stronger.”