Posts Tagged ‘Marin Economic Forum’

MEF Newsletter January 2017

MEF Newsletter

January 2017

Chief Executive Officer, Jim Cordeiro
Concentration, Focus and Habits

Happy New Year! This month we discuss concentration, maintaining focus, and the habits to achieve our objectives.

Concentration is awareness, the calling of attention and awakening of a motive. Focus is the fundamental resource used to arrive at an established goal. Habits develop at the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire.

Knowledge is the theoretical paradigm, what to do, and the why. Skill is how to do. And desire is the motivation, the want to do.

Ask yourself, what is the one thing I can do, that in doing it , the rest becomes easier or unnecessary? Developing focus leads to discipline and good habits. The Organization of activities and establishment of priorities (important and urgent) are key factors in a strong plan towards a vital economy.

As seen below in the Chief Economist perspective, Marin is an affluent place, but poverty is a factor to watch. MEF strives to support a vital economy through engaging Marin’s key stakeholders to develop focus and the discipline of good habits. Change must be motivated by a higher purpose, by a willingness to subordinate what we think we want now for what we want later.

As the saying goes, “The distance between the dream and the reality is called discipline.”

Until next month, let us all develop focus through discipline and good habits to do that one thing, that in doing it, the rest becomes easier or unnecessary.

The Marin Economic Forum (MEF) is a public-private partnership, serving as the platform for collaborative efforts on improving Marin County’s economic vitality, while seeking to enhance social equity and environmental protection. Visit www.marineconomicforum.org to learn more about our collaborative efforts.

Chief Economist, Dr. Robert Eyler
Marin County and Post-Recession Demography: Part 1

Every year, the Census Bureau updates its database with a survey called the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is meant to be the Census before the Census, a rolling five-year window of Census-like data in summary form. The surveys are shorter and focused on major data items in four categories:

  • 1. Household Composition
  • 2. Economic Characteristics
  • 3. Housing Characteristics
  • 4. Demographics
  • This month, I look at some of the standout data that are in this survey for Marin County versus California overall, and also discuss what is missing. These data are an average from 2011 to 2015, the post-recession era to date. The data can be found at factfinder.census.gov. MEF is working on these data as quick graphs on our website; please see www.marineconomicforum.org soon for our data pages. This is part one of a two-part series.

    Households

    These data describe how households (people living in a home) form that household. Some households are married people, some are a person living alone, some are people living together unmarried. In Marin County, 50 percent of households are married couples, 0.9 percentage points above the state average. 31 percent of Marin County households are someone living alone; for California, that number is 24.1 percent. 30 percent of households have a child under 18 years old in Marin County, where the state average is 36.1 percent of households. 33.9 percent of Marin County households have someone over 65 years old in the home versus only 26.3 for California.

    Economic Status

    Approximately 65 percent of Marin County’s population is in the labor force (working or looking for work). For California, it is 63.6 percent of the population. Marin County has 60.3 percent of the female population in the labor force, where California is 57.3 percent. A standout data point is that 10.1 percent of workers work from home in Marin County versus 5.3 percent for California overall; this data helps corroborate a long-standing hypothesis that Marin County has a large amount of home-based businesses versus the state. Further, 15.3 percent of Marin County’s working population is self-employed versus just 8.3 percent in California on average. Over 41 percent of Marin County’s working population works in professional or business services or education or health care versus just 34 percent for California overall.

    Two data points that lead to a lot of questions for me include median income and poverty data. For Marin County, median household income is estimated at $93,257 as an average of 2011 to 2015. California is $61,818. Marin County is among the highest median household incomes in the United States by county. In terms of poverty, 8.3 percent of Marin County’s population is in federal poverty conditions, while 16.3 percent of California’s population is estimated to be in federal poverty conditions. Marin County has the lowest poverty rate of any county in California with at least 250,000 residents.

    Final Takes

    These data are snapshots and should be compared to history. My intention here was to provide the current snapshot, as stated by the Census Bureau, but also provide a flavor of what is reported annually. Advocates, elected officials, government staff workers, local businesses, and some residents in Marin County have asked for these data over time, and the data are not comprehensive. There is more depth and comparisons available from the Census Bureau.

    The household composition and economic data suggest that Marin is an affluent place, but poverty is a factor to watch. While relatively low, 8.3 percent of the population living under the federal poverty line suggests that there are even more people living marginally in Marin County due to the high local cost of living. The federal poverty line in 2015 was an annual income of $24,250 for a household of four people. Poverty likely includes some older residents, and an aging population is something we will look at next month as we add housing unit characteristics and demographics.

    Board Corner
    MEF Board Director, Frank Borodic, Roundstone Inn
    Marconi Conference Center and Historic State Park

    Frank Borodic, MEF Board director and owner of Rounstone Inn (roundstonefarm.com), is working to preserve a state historic landmark. The Marconi Conference Center (marconiconference.org) and State Historic Park has a rich human history that dates back hundreds of years. From the pre-historic villages of the coastal Miwok to the farming communities of today, the Tomales Bay ecosystem has supported the livelihoods of thousands of people.

    As a treasure to the Marin community, Marconi Conference Center offers a distraction-free environment, professional-caliber meeting space, comfortable lodging, delicious and healthful meals and a conference staff that is skillful. Accommodating and guest-oriented, the lodging buildings are nestled around a garden courtyard that offers an ideal spot guests to relax.

    This historic state park is in need of renovations and the Marin Economic Forum is pleased to provide our services to assess the economic benefit and recommendation towards keeping this treasure alive for future generations to enjoy.

    Next time you find yourself on the Point Reyes coast in Marshall, stop by the Marconi Conference Center and Historic Park for a unique and beautiful west Marin experience.

    Upcoming Events
    Construction Development/Commercial Real Estate Working Group
    Wednesday, January 11, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Finance Industry Working Group
    Wednesday, January 11, 2:30pm - 3:30pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Board Meeting
    Friday, January 27, 2016, 8:30—11:30am
    Buck Institute, 8001 Redwood Blvd, Novato

    Visit marineconomicforum.org for details.

    MEF Business Professional’s Collaboration and Education Group
    Thursday, January 19, 2017, 5:00pm—7:00pm
    Community Room, Drake’s Landing, Larkspur
    Visit www.MarinBusinessForum.com for details.
    Annual Economic Forecast 2017
    Friday January 20, 2017, 8:00am—11:00am
    Yellen Conference Center, 101 Market St, San Francisco 94105
    Visit www.BayAreaCouncil.org for details.

    Destination Management Working Group
    Wednesday February 1, 2017, 1:00—2:00pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Innovation Working Group
    Wednesday February 1, 2017, 2:30—3:30pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Finance Committee
    Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 10:30—11:30am
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Issues Committee
    Friday, February 10, 2017, 8:30—9:30am, 10:30—11:30am
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Visit marineconomicforum.org for details.

    Click Here To View Past Newsletters

    Marin financial experts eye rising stock market, Trump impact

    Robert Eyler, Ph.D

    By Adrian Rodriguez
    Marin Independent Journal

    Financial advisers in Marin say it’s a good time to review investments, as Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election appears to be signaling a strong stock market.

    “If you’re not investing, you should be putting your toe in,” said Neil Hennessy, CIO of Hennessy Funds in Novato.

    Since Nov. 8, the stock market has seen some ups and downs, rising to record numbers last week. Investors nationwide have been betting that with Trump in office, and with a Republican-led Congress, there will be a push to deregulate energy and banking, cut taxes and increase government spending on infrastructure, making it the opportune time to invest and buy stock in the financial and commodities sectors.

    However, Hennessy said investors should pay less attention to what might happen in a Trump administration and focus on the fact that “business is very resilient,” and that “everything points to a higher market” because of that.

    “The most important thing is there is no euphoria in the market place today, either on the greed side or the fear side,” he said. “As that continues, business will continue to do well.”

    Hennessy recommends that investors trade out of fixed-income investments and focus on high-quality dividend-paying stocks, which he thinks will be rewarding. If there are tax cuts, the benefits could be greater, he said.

    Robert Eyler, chief economist for the Marin Economic Forum, said it makes sense in the short-term to invest in commodities, such as energy, specifically oil, and in finances.

    “That’s where you’ve seen all the activity in the past three weeks,” he said, “because those are the kind of industries that got a boost.”

    SHIFTING STRATEGY

    Stocks have slowed since hitting record numbers just before Thanksgiving. Stocks moved mostly lower Wednesday as gains in blue-chip energy companies and banks were not enough to make up for losses in the broader market.

    The bond market took heavy losses, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rising to its highest level in a year and a half. The higher yields sent bond substitutes like utilities, telecommunications and real estate stocks sharply lower.

    Oil stocks climbed after OPEC nations, which collectively produce more than one-third of the world’s oil, agreed to trim production for the first time in eight years.

    Trump’s election has sent investors fleeing out of safe-play assets like bonds, gold and dividend-paying stocks this month and into riskier investments like small companies, which would benefit the most from a growing domestic economy.

    The Russell 2000 index, which is made up of mostly small- to mid-sized companies, soared 11 percent in November. That’s the biggest one-month gain for that index in five years.

    Investors believe Trump’s promises to cut taxes, invest heavily in infrastructure and cut back regulation will help grow the economy and might even cause inflation, which has been almost non-existent since the financial crisis. U.S. government bonds quickly become less appealing to investors in a healthy, growing economy and in an inflationary environment.

    DRASTIC CHANGES

    “We have elected a pro-growth president who is going to move very quickly to make some drastic changes, and investors are trying to figure out what to do with that,” said Tom di Galoma, head of Treasury trading at Seaport Global Holdings.

    Di Galoma said he sees the 10-year note’s yield hitting 3 percent by year end, a level not seen in nearly three years.

    But for those investing for the long term, classic technology and biotechnology could be the way to go, Eyler said.

    He warned that some of the potential for profit in the commodities and financial sectors may have already been eaten up with the excitement since the November election. He also advised investors to note that the economy has been on a demand-side growth pattern for nearly seven years, which he says “is almost the longest economic recovery in the last 100 years,” and that the economy is still waiting for a “supply-side boost.”

    James E. Demmert, founder and managing partner at Main Street Research, a Sausalito-based investment and wealth management firm, said “Trump came along at the right time,” because “his presidency coincides with the beginning of a new business cycle or a re-acceleration of corporate profits.”

    Demmert agrees that investment in materials and the financial sector — including local banks — is wise, adding that industrial and health care would be good strategies as well.

    “One thing I think investors should think about is what they do about interest rates and bonds,” he said. “Interest rates are headed up and investors should be very careful when that happens — as they will teeter-totter. If you own bond funds, that can be devastating on maturity dates.”

    BOND HOLDINGS

    Bob Hunter, principal and founder of Marin Wealth Advisors in San Rafael, said in an email on behalf of his firm that expectations of a more favorable corporate regulatory and tax environment should be an incentive for companies to invest in plants and equipment, further boosting the economy, and again helping jobs and wages.

    “Given our sense that economic activity could accelerate, resulting in higher wages and commodity prices, we are reviewing our bond holdings, especially maturities, as increased inflation usually leads to lower bond prices,” he wrote. “Regarding equities, we feel stocks in general are historically in the fully valued range on an earnings basis, but expectations of higher earnings and money flowing out of bonds should help to support current stock prices. It’s a good time for investors of all sizes to review their investments, including 401(k) plans, for under performers and duplication.”

    Geoff Hakim, founder of Marin Capital Management, a Novato-based firm specializing in alternative investments, is skeptical of the recent stock market activity.

    “The stock market is rarely based on reality and it’s always based on expectations,” he said. “What we’re seeing from this last month or so is basically people hoping that having Trump in there will improve the economy. We are going to have to wait and see.”

    Hakim argued that the bond market is in the worst place it’s been for years and that “instead of being subject to all of the massive volatility that stocks go through,” he and his firm recommend hedge fund investment.

    “The client ends up with a lot more money in their pocket when they go that route,” he said.

    MEF Newsletter December 2016

    Michael Kadel

    MEF Newsletter

    December 2016

    Chief Executive Officer, Jim Cordeiro
    Knowledge Age, Planning + Hope

    The late 20th century was a period of major social, economic and political changes. It was also a time in which there were big changes in knowledge – in how people see knowledge and how they use it. This period is now widely known as the beginning of the Knowledge Age – to distinguish it from the Industrial Age.

    The Knowledge Age is a new, advanced form of capitalism in which knowledge and ideas are the main source of economic growth (more important than land, labour, money, or other ‘tangible resources). New patterns of work and new business practices have developed, and, as a result, new kinds of workers, with new and different skills, are required.

    As well as this (and this is very important for education), knowledge’s meaning is changing. Knowledge is no longer being thought of as ‘stuff’ that is developed (and stored) in the minds of experts, represented in books, and classified into disciplines. Instead, it is now thought of as being like a form of energy, as a system of networks and flows – something that does things, or makes things happen. Knowledge Age knowledge is defined—and valued—not for what it is, but for what it can do. It is produced, not by individual experts, but by ‘collectivising intelligence’ – that is, groups of people with complementary expertise who collaborate for specific purposes. These changes have major implications for our education system.

    As schools prepare young people for successful lives in the 21st century, new skills and dispositions are being developed. This can’t be done simply by adding these ‘new’ skills and dispositions to the existing curriculum. To build a 21st century system, a new mindset is required that can take account of the new meaning of knowledge and the new contexts and purposes for learning this knowledge. ‘21st century learning’ is a shorthand term that draws together the ingredients of this new mindset.

    The changes discussed earlier are primarily economic and work-related. Education is, of course, about much more than simply preparing people for work. It has other important goals: for example, developing social and citizenship skills, providing equal opportunity, and building social cohesion. Expressed this way, these are 20th century goals.

    What might these goals look like in the 21st century context?

    The shift to 21st century society involves much more than the economic changes outlined earlier – major social and political changes are also happening.

    Guidance by Hope is good. Guidance by Planning is better. Guidance by Planning + Hope is best.

    The Marin Economic Forum (MEF) is a public-private partnership, serving as the platform for collaborative efforts on improving Marin County’s economic vitality, while seeking to enhance social equity and environmental protection.

    Visit www.marineconomicforum.org to learn more about our collaborative efforts.

    Until next month, MEF wishes you a new year full of good health and prosperity.

    Chief Economist, Dr. Robert Eyler
    What Next?

    While you may feel beat up from the September and October election rush, and worse due to the election results, it is now time to plan for what is coming. Generally, the economy is not affected by presidential elections alone or over the long-term; the combination of presidential and congressional elections resulting in consolidation of Republican control is concerning the Democratic party and many Americans on both sides of the aisle as to how the economy reacts and the long-term effects on national debt and our labor markets. Concerns are due mainly to uncertainty, and we have heard a lot of promises. With 2017 just around the corner, here are the key things I am watching (for now) as an economist.

    ACA unwind/De-regulation of Health Care

    After years of set-up, beta testing, preparing for change, and now living under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there are rumblings that the Trump administration plans to engage in a “repeal and replace” agenda in health care. This may be part of a broader framework to change health insurance conditions for many Americans by reducing the current system’s availability and revert to a more market-driven system. How this allows insurance companies to reduce their costs, how it begins steps toward reducing regulations in health care and financial markets, and also exacerbates the actual, patient costs of medications and medical care generally depends on how the ACA is replaced. The implications could drastically change the economics of health care and how people use American health systems (or do not use them at all due to a lack of affordability).

    Immigration and internal labor markets

    One of the other marginally controversial topics from the Trump camp was what to do about immigration. From the election season, the idea that the United States needs immigration reform was generally accepted. The way that happens, how it changes family and labor dynamics, and its ability to be enforced well, are all open questions. As economists, the labor-market interference such a process begins -- even before any change based on actual legislation – can change the way in which small businesses hire, wages they face, and all this coming in California at the same time as new minimum wage legislation is to go into effect. The flow of people over US borders for work purposes is likely the first battleground: will companies be penalized for not using Americans as a workforce for goods sold in America? Recent events suggest a disconnect between rhetoric and reality here.

    Taxation

    Taxes were one of the major debate topics in 2016, and are a great way to buy political victories in the short term. Much like a tax cut’s cousin, more fiscal spending, there are both short and long term effects. In the short term, a reduction of tax rates and a “broadening of the base” (more entities, corporate or households) paying taxes increase fiscal deficits. Over time, if the base is broadened in such a way as to not detract the economic activity from which the tax is derived (for example, a national sales or services tax), tax revenues may rise. However, the risk that tax revenues may fall with lower taxes, that investment (the goal of lowering taxes if corporate taxes were to fall) would fall, and deficits and debt would rise, is high. Tax cuts do not have the same multiplicative effects on the economy as increasing spending specific to infrastructure, but are attractive political pawns to move.

    Infrastructure investment

    This is another point that both sides of the aisle and many economists feel is a way to sustain our current growth and prepare for two more generations of growth. The key to infrastructure investment by our federal government is the focus of that investment. The rhetoric has been to look at building a wall, or something that has the effect of an impermeable border, versus roads, bridges and dams as examples. Both would have the same, basic short-term effect; depending on the longer-term labor market effects of immigration reform. A focus on repairing and expanding infrastructure may also be regional and supporting older technologies (driving) versus new ones (wireless). Hence, how this would affect a place like Marin County is likely to be small, short of speeding up funding for the Novato Narrows, or more support for the SMART rail project.

    Child care

    Due to Measure A’s defeat in Marin County’s election, and Donald Trump’s victory in the national election, child care support from the public sector has a strange future. I was shocked that Marin County did not see itself wanting to subsidize this activity, where children under five years old would have an environment as envisioned in “Strong Start”. Will the Trump administration see child care as a priority and complement to working mothers? We do not know, but if the vote in Marin County did not make it through, it is tricky to see a congressional deal happening on federal child care soon.

    In short, we have an election result we did not expect from a candidate that has no set agenda or political experience to date. The latter is coming soon, the former will need to come soon also if the American economy is to move forward less tentatively and guided by planning versus hope.

    Board Corner
    MEF Board Director, Chris Stewart, North Bay Life Science Alliance

    The North Bay Life Science Alliance (NBLSA.com) was established by economic development and life science professionals, educators and public leaders across the region. Backed by an initial investment by the City of Novato and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, the initiative will promote the region’s capabilities for advancing life sciences.

    Anchored by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and BioMarin, the North Bay is home to more than 200 life science organizations and hundreds of acclaimed researchers. In 2012, the Buck Institute alone attracted $40 million in national grants and the region drew in more than $10 million in National Institute of Health (NIH) grants.

    California is the top destination for venture capital in life sciences, attracting more than the next eight ranked states combined. Not surprisingly, the industry is expanding beyond its traditional strongholds in the East Bay, the South Bay and the Peninsula. Providing access to the same resources as our neighbors, the North Bay has already emerged as an attractive alternative. More than 200 companies have chosen to base themselves in the region. In Marin County, life-science revenues are surging past $750 million and associated jobs are climbing toward 2,000. That activity is expected to grow and spread west on the basis of local success stories like these.

    Visit NBLSA.com for more details.

    Upcoming Events
    Destination Management Working Group
    Wednesday, December 7, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Innovation Working Group
    Wednesday, December 7, 2:30pm - 3:30pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903
    Visit marineconomicforum.org for details.

    MEF Business Professional’s Collaboration and Education Group
    Thursday, January 19, 2017, 5:00pm—7:00pm
    Community Room, Drake’s Landing, Larkspur
    Visit www.MarinBusinessForum.com for details.
    Annual Economic Forecast 2017
    Friday January 20, 2017, 8:00am—11:00am
    Yellen Conference Center, 101 Market St, San Francisco 94105
    Visit www.BayAreaCouncil.org for details.

    Click Here To View Past Newsletters

    Forecasting The Future

    The 13th Annual Forecasting the Future Marin Economic Conference, co-hosted by the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce and the Marin Economic Forum will be held at the Embassy Suites in San Rafael. Marin Economic Forum’s Dr. Robert Eyler will first present the “National and Marin Economic Forecast”. He will then moderate our esteemed panel.

    Click for details

    North Bay Innovation Summit

    “Where startup and early stage companies compete for recognition and substantial cash prizes. Companies must be no more than 5 years old with no more than 10 full-time employees. There will be a winner in each of the four categories.”

    Click for details

    Brexit is an example that it is a small world after all

    Robert Eyler, Ph.D

    By Robert Eyler
    Marin Independent Journal

    The recent passage of Brexit by voters in the United Kingdom raised many questions and had far-reaching consequences. And despite our small footprint, Marin County potentially will feel the repercussions.

    Some good; some not so good.

    Nonetheless, whatever the local outcomes, they should make us realize that this is an interdependent financial world that we live in.

    And all the more reason that such organizations as the Marin Economic Forum continue to be an important informational, networking and idea exchange.

    Because we (and the North Bay region) have several companies that compete on a global basis, there are three immediate issues to contemplate: housing and financial market performance, shifts in tourism flows, and trade links to the UK as either a marketplace or a gateway to mainland Europe.

    The Brexit decision assures that we are likely to remember 2016 as one of the most politically intense years of the century.

    While our presidential election is slowly building to a crescendo in November, the UK vote to leave the European Union has already changed the scenario that whomever we elect will have to face.

    Because the UK’s currency is the pound sterling and not the Euro used in EU countries, the unwind will be more about how currencies are trading for each other and less about compliance.

    But the disconnect from trade and financial infrastructure based on EU membership will be a large enough headache.

    Marin County, housing may be positively affected for two reasons.

    First, the outflow of capital toward the United States from the UK will further reduce pressure on interest rates; the Federal Reserve knows this and may now further delay interest rate increases to prevent the U.S. from becoming a magnet for UK wealth seeking the slightest of interest rate gains.

    Mortgage rates should remain stable and low, and housing demand will remain supported.

    Those residents with global investments may find losses from emerging markets that have ties to the UK (e.g., Indonesia and Malaysia); countries like Japan may be financial beneficiaries although auto sales to the UK (and wine sales there for the North Bay region) may suffer.

    For Marin County businesses, trade and labor connections to the UK may be delayed or hampered.

    U.S. trade relations otherwise should be little affected.

    Businesses such as Autodesk and BioMarin may need to consider the size and scope of offices and business branches in the UK if they are utilized to service Europe more completely.

    This may slow progress in life sciences generally, especially if global uncertainty is exacerbated by this situation.

    For tourism, we may see a flip of British tourism for Americans.

    Marin County residents may now plan trips to London that they have delayed if the pound’s value falls significantly. For UK travelers, the opposite might be the case, reducing their visits to Marin County, wine country and the greater Bay Area.

    Businesses in Marin County, such as hotels and B&Bs and restaurants, may hear fewer UK accents.

    Under the assumption that global uncertainty ebbs a bit after the tidal wave of opinions and concerns is done crashing over news channels, Marin County should be economically good after this is all said and done.

    The UK has multiple reasons to sort the aftermath out quickly, and allow us to prepare for November and more political zaniness.

    Robert Eyler is dean of the School of Extended and International Education at Sonoma State University as well as the chief economist for the Marin Economic Forum.

    MEF Newsletter August 2016

    MEF Newsletter

    August 2016


    Perspectives

    by MEF CEO Jim Cordeiro

    Year of the Entrepreneur

    North Bay iHub celebrates the second annual North Bay Innovation Week highlighting innovation in the North Bay the week of Sept 12 – 16, 2016. In collaboration with iHub, Marin Economic Forum is hosting our 4th annual Marinnovation event on September 13.

    iHub is a collaborative of partners dedicated to building a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties thru the promotion of innovation as a community building and job creation tool by providing entrepreneurs with resources to enable them to build successful businesses.

    The information economy has impacted the way we currently work and will continue to impact the way we work. This economy values knowledge workers and our future depends on the workforce development strategies towards a sustainable economy. There are many ways to discover your value in our economy. One question to ask is, “Could the vast majority of your work responsibilities be automated by a “kludged together” Excel script?”

    America is the wealthiest country on earth because for most of our history we have followed the basic principles of economic freedom. Said differently, our wealth is not preordained; it is not coincidence and is it not guaranteed to endure. Instead, our wealth is the direct result of deliberate action to abide by certain economic principles, laws, and freedoms, many of which are now slipping away.

    Some portion of the persistent unemployment in our economy is structural in nature: There is a gap between the skills of the unemployed and the capabilities that are being sought by employers with unfilled job openings. Much of the structural unemployment we see is being caused by rapid technological innovation and the evolution of our economy, which increasingly demands workers with technical skills and experience. Conventional thinking might look at this problem and say that this phenomenon happens constantly; as economies grow, skilled workers are in increasing demand. We now face a situation in which technological innovation is altering the economy so rapidly that many workers are unable to make the adjustment and gain the retraining necessary to evolve with it.

    A simple thought experiment: Let’s pretend you won $10 million in the lottery and you could only do one of the following two things with your windfall:

  • Option #1: Invest in a conservative portfolio of stocks and bonds and live comfortably on $300,000 – $400,000 per year in income.
  • Option #2: Start-up a new business that is creative and innovative and hires new employees to try and become successful.
  • Which option would you choose? There is no right or wrong answer here. Both options might benefit you, but only the second option is capable of being beneficial to the broader economy and society at large. New business formation and the creation, innovation, and job opportunities that come with it are the foundation of economic growth and prosperity.


    MEF Chief Economist Update

    by Dr. Robert Eyler

    Entrepreneurship and Sustainability

    Entrepreneurship and sustainability have a similar history in terms of how economists look at their definitions. Initially, we looked at entrepreneurship as “ideas”; economists think about four factors of production or inputs including labor, land, physical capital, and entrepreneurship. These ideas are paid profits, profits earned by the idea owner or ultimately the owner of a business that springs from intellectual capital (the idea). The entrepreneur’s role in our economy became more important as the economy began to monetize ideas more rapidly, and with large sums of money. There is a magazine with the title of “Entrepreneur” like “People” or “Time”; like sustainability, entrepreneurship has become a generalized term and no longer associated directly with its original meaning. Generally, we think of a smart person who started a business that was successful as an entrepreneur now. Economists still consider entrepreneurship an input to any and all businesses.

    Successful businesses are the heart of every economy and all businesses began technically with an entrepreneur. We teach this subject throughout business school curricula; Dominican University of California has its MBA programs wrapped around the entrepreneur; Babson College has a satellite campus in San Francisco on the Embarcadero and Folsom Street, a college made famous for its focus on entrepreneurship as a core idea taught in its classes. The concept is everywhere, and everyone has some ideas about new products or innovations. Not all these ideas are commercial; television programs like Shark Tank provide a quick lens into the decision making that links financial markets to new ideas.

    Marin County is a place where famous entrepreneurs have flourished. Lucasfilm, Fair Issac, BioMarin, EO Products, and many others started and grew here. Many lessons can be learned from these businesses growing from a couple ideas or concepts or products; many other businesses fail to make it here in Marin County, as in other places as starting a business is tough. Marin Economic Forum’s work is to stimulate entrepreneurs in Marin County and beyond to see Marin County as a place to do business. The history is here, but is the community support?

    Marin County has been resistant to business growth generally, under the supposition that growth means change which has many “bads” that come with it. Ironically, climate change will likely be solved or mitigated by entrepreneurship: science made commercial to help people and the earth. Everything in your home, the restaurant meals you enjoy, the phone you may be reading this on right now is a by-product of supported entrepreneurship. Our community is supported by businesses and new ideas; without them, there is no change and nothing new, fewer jobs and societal devolution.


    Click Here To View Past Newsletters


    Board Corner

    MEF Board Director, Laurie O’ Hara, Working Solutions

    Congratulations to Working Solutions. On Friday, July 8, they funded their 400th microloan! The loan was made to Firebrand Artisan Breads, a local bakery in Oakland that is taking the Bay Area by storm with its signature breads and delicious pastries.

    Working Solutions began in 1999 as a workforce development program under the auspices of TMC Financing. By 2005, the organization had commenced its own microlending program. Since then, they have provided over $9.8 million in lending capital to Bay Area businesses and perfected their holistic approach to community economic development by blending their lending services with business coaching and mentoring programs. In 2009, Working Solutions was officially designated a United States Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

    MEF Board Director, Michael Leifer, Digital Candy

    Congratulations to Michael Leifer and the launch of Digital Candy. Digital Candy offers advanced artificial intelligence searches on the web to identify counterfeit products and misused logos, domains, images and video.

    Events

    September

    Marinnovation — Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016
    4:30pm – 7:30pm, Marin Commons, San Rafael
    visit marineconomicforum.org to register

    North Bay Innovation Week
    September 12-16, 2016

    Throughout Sonoma and Marin counties
    visit: northbayihub.com

    100MARIN — Wednesday, September 28, 2016
    block party outside of Il Davide, San Rafael
    6:00pm – 8:00pm
    visit: www.100MARIN.org to register

    Marin IJ Editorial: Economic forum’s new chief reflects focus

    Marin Independent Journal

    Marin IJ Editorial

    The naming of the Marin Economic Forum’s new chief not only opens a new chapter for this important public/private partnership, but it also reinforces the Marin economy’s focus on building the county’s position as a center for the growing bio-sciences industry.

    Jim Cordeiro recently took over as the forum’s chief executive officer, leading an organization the mission of which has been making sure that the economic health of our county is not left out of our decision-making process.

    In recent years, the organization has been commissioned to do reports on the economic impact of Marin General Hospital, the economic benefits of the Marin Center complex, Novato’s role and position in the growing bio-sciences industry, Sausalito’s economic issues and the costs of homelessness in Marin.

    These reports put important facts and figures on the table as local officials shaped plans for proposed buildings as well as long-term community planning goals.

    The group has also promoted bolstering Marin’s standing as a bio-science center.

    Fast-growing Bio-Marin and the important work of the Buck Institute for Aging Research are terrific cornerstones for building a center for an industry that likely won’t grow out of date.

    Cordeiro, a scientist who had founded his own bio-tech company and has been active in the entrepreneurial community, should be a solid fit for the commission.

    Read more at the Marin IJ.

    Wanted: More life science, biotech businesses

    North Bay Business Journal

    By Gary Quackenbush
    North Bay Business Journal

    The North Bay can be a productive growth medium for biotechnology and life sciences companies, but it needs investment dollars, both public and private, and talent, say area officials working to grow the industry.

    “For us, the goal is how to use data to attract more bio/life science firms and researchers to the North Bay, as well as how to retain those who have chosen to come here,” said Jim Cordeiro, CEO of San Rafael-based Marin Economic Forum.

    He, along with a host of other life science industry leaders, attended the 2016 BIO International Convention in San Francisco in June, where the consensus was that this industry is complicated — and not good at communicating its core messages.

    Founded in 2012, Marin Economic Forum is a nonprofit organization that collects, analyzes and disseminates information that affects local businesses while also collaborating with communities in which their employees reside. Industries targeted include biological and life sciences, agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing.

    “Our goals include building greater collaboration and communication by integrating information technology into life sciences,” Cordeiro said. “This involves the use of good story-telling techniques to create an emotional connection to engage the imagination and communicate what science is all about in basic terms.”

    The process begins with identifying the types of research being done today at the Buck Institute in Novato and other North Bay life science firms, as well as within the University of California system. Finding out what the life science industry wants is the first step leading to attracting capital and talent matching those needs.

    “Life sciences start with capital for essential research, and there is local and private capital here for generating initial research, before seeking venture capital,” Cordeiro said. “At the same time, measurable metrics are required, as well as a strategic plan for utilizing data being collected.”

    He said the end result will be a series of “product potential” models the forum can sell to life sciences firms, the community and investors going forward, as part of his organization’s plan to establish mechanisms for gaining funding support.

    1,000 MORE JOBS

    Cordeiro’s plans for the forum include establishing a firm connection between increasing economic development and job growth in life sciences, including a related goal to add 1,000 more life sciences jobs in Marin by 2020.

    Read more at the North Bay Business Journal