The regional economy will continue to rally around the positive momentum stemming from the election of President Donald Trump, Director of the California Economic Forecast Mark Schniepp said Feb. 2.
Schniepp expects modest economic growth to continue through 2017. The “Trump bump” may even delay a recession, speakers said at the 2017 Los Angeles County and Ventura County Economic Outlook at the Hyatt Regency in Westlake Village. Typical expansion cycles last around nine years, which will come in 2018.
The stock market has reached all-time highs and consumer confidence has been on the rise since the election.
The Ventura County economy is poised to benefit from lower personal and corporate income taxes that would likely spur spending, Schniepp said. Regulatory easing could help pharmaceutical companies and banks, he said.
While spending on defense, infrastructure and homeland security could boost the economy, it would also run up the national debt. Renegotiating trade agreements and changing immigration policies also bear uncertain consequences, Schniepp said.
“Trump is inheriting a strong economy. It was a good year in 2016,” he said. “Optimism is high, the job market is impressive, vehicle sales are up, home building is coming back and the global economy looks better than it has in a long time. We’re perhaps in the golden age of the economic cycle right now.”
As for Ventura County, hotel occupancy is high, leisure and hospitality, health services and the public sector led job growth, home values are rising, unemployment rates are low, and wages are increasing.
Yet, job growth has been largely in low-wage sectors, the economy is hampered by company defections including Mandalay Berry Farms shedding 565 jobs, public policy restricts the development of housing that’s becoming less affordable, and commercial real estate vacancies are high compared to surrounding regions, Schniepp said.
“A lack of housing contributes to an overall lackluster Ventura County economy,” he said.
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