Marysville forum: Jobs outlook bleak in Yuba-Sutter
It is no secret the Yuba-Sutter job market is — at best — sluggish.
Just ask Marysville's Dave Fleming.
"I haven't been working since I was laid off six months ago," Fleming said. "It is what it is in this economy — it's really tough times."
Fleming, 39, was one of more than 50 people looking for answers and maybe some hope at a community meeting on Saturday in Marysville addressing jobs and economic growth in Yuba-Sutter.
The event was hosted at the Arts Council Auditorium on E Street and was sponsored by the Yuba-Sutter Democratic Club, Rebuild the Dream Yuba-Sutter and Crossing Borders, Building Bridges.
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, was the event's keynote speaker.
"All the elements are here (in Yuba-Sutter) for good economic growth," Garamendi said. "We need to support our small businesses and career and job training centers to help build a solid middle class and reignite the American Dream."
David Gallo of California State University, Chico, presented his own economic analysis comparing Yuba-Sutter to the rest of the state and the nation.
It was bleak.
"You are heavily weighted toward government employment," Gallo said. "That's going to hurt you going forward, and, no, there's nothing you can really do about it."
Gallo said agricultural jobs in the region are down by more than 25 percent since 2006, retail jobs are down 15 percent and government employment has slid about 8 percent. Manufacturing jobs have been declining locally every year since 1995, he said.
"Manufacturing is very weak in this area," Gallo noted.
Going forward, Gallo said, the local economy is also expected to recover at a much slower rate than most other parts of the state. Growth in the North State is anticipated to be about two-thirds the rate of the rest of the state in the next two years, he said.
Other economic issues were addressed during a brief six-person panel discussion moderated by Marysville Vice Mayor Christina Billeci.
Billeci was credited with organizing Saturday's forum and panel discussion.
"You hear a lot about the national and state economies, and we thought it would be good to compare our economy with those, but also to address bringing jobs her to expand the economy," she said.
Long-term strategies were briefly discussed. Many speakers expressed optimism about the future of the local financial picture.
The prospect of a casino in Yuba County was also addressed by Enterprise Rancheria spokeswoman Glenda Nelson.
"The casino is about jobs, this is about jobs for Yuba County," Nelson said. "These are jobs that will stay in the area."
Yuba College spokesman Adrian Lopez advocated higher education as one pathway to a brighter future.
"Education plays a huge role," Lopez said. "It gives people the skills that employers need."
Yuba College students attending the meeting agreed whole-heartedly, but said obtaining higher education is increasingly difficult for people who are not already prosperous.
"I'd like to ask how they're going to make college more affordable," said Jaynee Postlethwait
The 20-year-old part-time business student said she can't afford student loans and must work to pay for her education.
"How can I be successful in the future without higher education?" Postlethwait asked. "Especially if I can't afford it?"