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ABAG: Bay Area’s economic recovery will be slow

By Josh Richman
Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 at 12:07 pm in economy.

The Bay Area economy “will recover slowly, a mirror of the rest of the nation, stabilizing in 2010 with some recovery in 2011,” Association of Bay Area Governments Economist and Research Director Paul Fassinger told ABAG’s 22nd annual regional economic outlook conference today.

ABAG’s news release said Fassinger reports the region’s income isn’t expected to grow appreciably – 0.3 percent this year, 2.5 percent in 2011 – and the Bay Area’s inflation rate for 2010 and 2011 will hover at 2.5 percent. He estimates about 20,000 more jobs will be lost in 2010, but 2011 will show a modest gain of 8,000 jobs.

State Department of Finance Chief Economist Howard Roth told the ABAG conference, at the Joseph P. Bort MetroCenter Auditorium in Oakland, said the recession may be over but the toll has been “horrific,” and recovery will probably be slow as the unemployed seek jobs and people try to get their finances in order. He’s concerned that another wave of less-than-prime adjustable-rate mortgages will reset between 2010 and 2012, perhaps leading to a renewed foreclosure and housing-market crisis.

ABAG Senior Regional Planner Hing Wong reported the region’s consumer spending remains weak; he expects retail sales will grow by only 0.4 percent this year and 2.2 percent in 2011. That’ll mean a nominal taxable sales growth of 1 percent in 2010 and 1.9 percent in 2011.

DataQuick Information Systems analyst Andrew LePage reported some indicators suggest the housing downturn has slowed, with potential for a “fledling recovery.” Vallejo and Antioch had the highest number of foreclosures in 2009 – 1529 and 1455 homes, respectively – while Sausalito and Los Altos showed the lowest foreclosure numbers, five and eight homes, respectively.

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