Californians are more optimistic about the state economy and their own finances, although Bay Area residents are decidedly more upbeat than people in and around Los Angeles, according to a new survey.
Almost two-thirds of Californians say their personal finances are improving, 52% think the state’s economy is on the mend and 51% believe the jobs picture is brightening, according to the Citibank survey. Overall, according to the survey, nearly half of California residents say 2012 will be a better year than 2011.
But thanks in part to the improving fortunes of Silicon Valley, the mood is notably more optimistic in Northern California than elsewhere.
Whereas 73% of Bay Area residents predict their financial situation will improve over the next 12 months, only 61% of people in Los Angeles County feel that way. Likewise, only 1 in 2 Angelenos expect job opportunities to get better in the next year versus 62% in the Bay Area.
"Apple is doing really well, iPods are selling like hotcakes, Facebook is going public,” said Rebecca Macieira-Kaufmann, president of Citibank California. “There’s a lot of positive innovation and energy that’s happening in the north right now.”
Still, as with many things, economic optimism is all relative.
An index measuring optimism improved to -4 in the fourth quarter from -7 in the third quarter, a clear indication that the state has a long way to go.
The index was a downright giddy +11 in San Francisco. But it registered a dreary -6 in Los Angeles. It was -4 in San Diego and -5 elsewhere.
A couple of measurements pointed up the severe distress among some Californians.
Half of those surveyed said they have dipped into investments to pay for routine living expenses. And 55% of people aged 18 to 34 "changed living arrangements to save money." Translation: Many moved back home with Mom and Dad.