By MARC LUTZ
Business Journal Editor
MODESTO—University of the Pacific’s Eberhardt School of Business Center for Business & Policy Research unveiled its data-packed North San Joaquin Valley Index on Nov. 16, highlighted a slow, sustained growth since the recent years of recession.
The research and subsequent data was presented to a modest audience of business and community leaders, looking at economic trends in the North San Joaquin Valley region, which is comprised of Merced, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.
“I spend a lot of my time in the Northern California Megaregion, where the university has three campus locations. I serve on a number of boards and work in close collaboration with important organizations that are comprised of thought leaders in the Bay Area, Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley regions,” said Stacy McAfee, EdD, associate vice president for external relations at UOP. The research conducted, she said, is being embraced by those leaders and organizations.
“ … Our sustainability and economic plans are increasingly co-dependent across this Northern California Megaregion,” McAfee said. “The choices we make today are vitally important to all of us.”
Jeffrey Michael, PhD, the executive director for the Center of Business and Policy Research at UOP, presented a summary of economic data to the gathered audience, data which shows a slow and steady increase in the region’s economy.
Michael’s organization found three areas where the tri-county region could support economic development and enhanced quality of life. The areas were regional identity, branding and marketing, infrastructure planning and development, and human capital and workforce skills development.
That last category of workforce skills and development would play into a panel discussion regarding up and coming tech industry jobs in the NSJV.
In the past, Michael pointed out, research centers would group the three counties in with a larger region which included Fresno and Bakersfield. However, he said, the NSJV has very unique attributes that pulls it apart from those other southern districts and makes it part of the Northern California Megaregion.
“Basically, an increasingly integrated economic region with four sub-regions within it, (the megaregion is made up of) the core Bay Area, the Monterey Bay area, the North San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento region,” Michael said. These sub-regions all have an economic integration, making them “one of the most powerful economic regions in the United States.”
Some of the highlights included in the NSJV Index were:
- Population grew 1.18 percent between 2015 and 2016, equating to 18,000 new residents. Population in the NSJV is now 1.54 million
- Population will exceed 2.4 million by 2060
- Educational attainment is improving in the region
- The region’s economy, as measured by Gross Domestic Product, grew to $54 billion in 2016, a 4.1 percent increase
- Approximately 15,000 jobs have been added between 2016 and 2017, a 3.5 percent gain, the second fastest since recovery began in 2011
The full NSJV Index will be made available soon at pacific.edu/cbpr.