“Yes, California is growing, but the recovery has not narrowed the gap between the coastal parts of the state and the inland parts of the state,” said Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist at the UCLA Anderson Forecast. “The gap is larger.”The latest economic data are not encouraging, showing that some parts of the Central Valley and Inland Empire actually declined in some industries, such as manufacturing. […]Nickelsburg said he fears that structural unemployment will keep thousands out of the labor force long into the future. […]“So if history is our guide to forecasting, the bifurcation of California’s recovery has no necessary imperative to end for a number of years to come,” Nickelsburg wrote.
To be sure, California is not alone; this is a crisis that the country faces as a whole. Our challenge in the information economy is to figure out how to put the talent and hard work of the non-Zuckerbergs among us to work in meaningful ways. It won’t come quickly, if it comes at all, but if we figure this out, we’ll have an economy with even more wealth and more and better jobs than we had in the last one.If we don’t figure it out, we’ll be stuck with something like what California is right now: Stark class divisions with a tiny handful of wealthy innovators on the one hand and insecure, unemployed welfare dependents on the other. It didn’t used to be this way, but California should serve as a warning of what Americans need to work hardest to avoid. The Golden State is what could happen if we don’t make our way in the brave new world.[Image of unemployment line courtesy of Shutterstock]