Thursday, May 19, 2011

California Job Growth and our Next "Golden Goose"

In the year 2040, what will people in California do all day long?  We are likely to be an older population so we may be content to sit around and enjoy the sun and eat our good local fruit to raise our fiber intake.   But, some people will actually have to work for a living.  Who will they work for?   People say that Facebook hasn't created many jobs.  I know that relatively few people actually work at Facebook but I have wondered how many "spillover" jobs they can claim to have caused.  For example,  I did not know that there is a group of Los Angeles people who are big fans of the Kansas University "Jayhawks" .  People who want to be in this group can opt in and join and then if there is some firm out there who caters to such a niche then it can easily reach this group through targeted advertising or placing a message on this board.  How valuable is this "micro targeting"?  I don't know.

Now, the NY Times highlights that movie making won't be a growth industry for California.  In this long article about Arnold Schwarzenegger's return to making movies, one paragraph stands out;

"The new film will be shot mostly in New Mexico, to take advantage of state tax incentives, despite Mr. Schwarzenegger’s campaign as governor to keep the movies in California."  It would interest me if Arnold made any effort to demand that the movie be made in California?  Perhaps he believes that there are perfect substitutes for him and thus he didn't have a credible threat that he could make.

I am realizing that I don't have much imagination.  As I watch the UCLA Class of 2011 get ready to graduate, I don't know what they will be doing for a living when they are 40 or 50 years old.  I am a big believer in the U.S economy's ability to reinvent itself but I have some trouble anticipating what our comparative advantage will be.   We have "green cities" and "good fruit" and great universities --- perhaps tourism and health care and coffee places and a rising number of academic nerds can employ all of us?