Chapman University's annual economic forecast has been known to be overly sunny, but even this year's had to acknowledge that it'll suck huevos through the end of the next year.
However, as they faced a crowd of 1,200 huddled in the Orange County Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, Esmael Adibi and James "I'm Not Just an Economist, I'm Chapman U's President" Doti did offer this glimmer of hope: the economic recovery will begin near the end of '09 and start in Orange County and California before spreading to the rest of the country. Their theory is since the recession began here before everywhere else, it will end here before everywhere else.
What is key, though, is how very, very bad things are going to get before there is even a hint, a whisper, of things getting better, experts say. With the news that California had the most home foreclosures in the country in November (Boo-yah! We're No. 1!!), comes this glimmer of sunshine from Rick Sharga, executive vice president of marketing for Irvine-based RealtyTrac, to Bloomberg News:
"We're going to see a pretty significant storm next year. There are two or three clouds that suggest a pretty heavy downpour."
Clouds, thy names are rising unemployment, expiring foreclosure moratoriums and state efforts to combat the downturns running out of steam. The most significant of these, the experts seem to agree, is job losses. So it is refreshing to hear there is one employer in Irvine that not only won't be laying people off or slashing payrolls. Indeed, this place is just itching for employees willing to work for a measely $154,000 a year:
It's the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
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"Faced with what the likelihood of even more bank failures in 2009, the nation's top banking regulator has ramped up its hiring in recent weeks," reports CNN. "Over the next three months, the agency plans to add about 125 new employees, according to a FDIC spokesman. The majority of those positions are aimed at dealing with struggling or failed institutions in Western states."
The Most Trusted Name in News goes on to report that nearly all of those workers will be headquartered in Irvine, where the FDIC last month signed a three-year lease on a 200,000-square-foot building.
Don't worry about there be nothing to do there. As Nick Ketcha Jr., managing director at the New Jersey-based financial services consulting firm FinPro, says, "[The FDIC is] fully expecting, over the course of the next 12 to 18 months, [that] there is going to be a rash of failures."
Happy New Year!