San Joaquin Valley Economy Expected To Maintain Momentum

TURLOCK, Calif. — December 5, 2013 — The San Joaquin Valley economy has made progress toward pre-recession levels in the past year and will continue to improve in 2014 and 2015, according to a report from Gökçe Soydemir, the Foster Farms endowed professor of business economics at California State University, Stanislaus.

In his third annual Business Forecast Report, Soydemir says that rising consumer confidence and wealth have helped increase purchases of goods and services for individual or household use, leading to greater national demand for wholesale, manufacturing and farm-related goods from the Valley.

Highlights of the report, which is available for download at, include:

• For the first time since the recession ended, employment grew in all eight counties in the Valley, with Merced and San Joaquin counties growing the most in 2013. The wholesale trade and construction sectors had the fastest employment growth.

• Valley total employment grew 2.5 percent in 2013 — more than double the 10-year benchmark rate. The Valley economy is projected to continue at this accelerated pace in 2014 and 2015.

• The housing sector showed significant growth in 2013. Single-family building permits increased 37 percent, and home values increased more than 20 percent.

• With inflation rates remaining lower than anticipated, weekly wages are likely to grow at a slower pace. Valley weekly wages are projected to increase at a rate of 0.8 percent from 2014 to 2015.

The Business Forecast Report provides projections for the San Joaquin Valley labor market; regional housing conditions; prices and inflation; and depository institutions and capital markets. Soydemir and his team use a unique forecasting model that produces lower and upper statistical confidence bands; actual results are expected to fall within this range. Soydemir looks for data that signal “turning points” and offer clues to future performance. To date, the reports have proven to be about 94 percent accurate, providing a highly reliable forecasting tool for business owners and decision makers.