The U.S. economy is ready to stage an earnest comeback this year — led by housing starts and auto sales — and California stands to grab a large proportion of the gains, UCLA economists said Wednesday.
Although employment growth slowed at the end of last year, the employment picture this year is expected to brighten, helping the U.S. and California shake off their economic doldrums, according to the quarterly UCLA Anderson Forecast.
Join us for a live video chat at 1:30 p.m. on the state of the California economy. Times business reporter Ricardo Lopez will moderate a discussion with senior UCLA economists David Shulman and Jerry Nickelsburg to talk about their quarterly forecast. Times reporter Andrew Khouri will also join the discussion to talk about the latest Southern California real estate numbers.
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Despite recessions in many Eurozone nations and a slowing in exports, the U.S. economy "seems poised for real growth," said David Shulman, a senior economist with the Anderson Forecast.
Some headwinds remain, however — namely the automatic federal budget cuts that kicked in March 1, which have not been fully felt. The cuts, also known as sequestration, are expected to dampen economic activity somewhat but not to the extent the Obama administration has outlined, Shulman said.
With the housing market recovery gaining traction, UCLA economists predict housing starts will exceed 1 million units this year -- a 28% rise over 2012. Auto sales are expected to climb as well as Americans' balance sheets improve. This year, 15.2 million light vehicles are expected to be sold, a solid 5.5% increase over 2012, the forecast said.
Real estate information provider DataQuick on Wednesday also reported that the Southland's median home prices rose 21% over the year.
A total of 15,945 new and resale homes and condos sold in February—the highest volume for February in six years. Buyers in Southern California paid a median of $320,000 last month as fewer homes sold in lower-cost Riverside and San Bernardino counties that have become a haven for investors looking to flip or rent out bargain houses.
Times business reporter Ricardo Lopez will moderate a discussion with senior UCLA economists David Shulman and Jerry Nickelsburg to talk about their quarterly forecast. Times reporter Andrew Khouri will also join the discussion to talk about the DataQuick report.