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Letters to the Editor: Ignore the California naysayers. Our economy will roar back after the pandemic

A man takes part in a "Liberate San Diego" protest in April.
A man takes part in a “Liberate San Diego” protest against COVID-19 economic restrictions in April.
(John Gibbins / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

To the editor: Joel Kotkin and Marshall Toplansky paint an unduly grim picture of California’s past, present and future. Pre-pandemic, the facts do not square with their dismal description.

In February 2020, California’s jobless rate was just 3.9%, scarcely above the nation’s 3.5%. California’s nonfarm payrolls were 1.5% above their year-earlier level, virtually identical to the nation’s 1.6% rise.

California’s economy was creating many good-paying jobs in construction, key manufacturing segments, business and professional services, transportation, healthcare and higher education. California remains a leader in technology, which benefits not only Silicon Valley. Tech firms focused on media have a major footprint in Los Angeles, while a biotechnology sector thrives in San Diego.

The coronavirus has hit California hard because of tourism’s importance and the state’s actions to protect its residents’ health. Post-pandemic, the state does need to address fundamental shortcomings, with K-12 education heading the list.

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However, California was much stronger than Kotkin and Toplansky assert prior to the pandemic and will emerge stronger than they believe once the pandemic ends.

Lynn Reaser, San Diego

The writer is chief economist at the Fermanian Business and Economic Institute at Point Loma Nazarene University.


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