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What Holiday Shopping Means For Local Jobs And The State Economy

Aired 11/16/11 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Guests

Phil Blair, Executive Officer for the San Diego office of Manpower Staffing Services

Marney Cox, Chief Economist for the San Diego Association of Governments.

Evening Edition

We interview SANDAG's Chief Economist Marney Cox on the holiday shopping forecast.

Evening Edition airs weekdays at 5 PM and 6:30 PM on KPBS TV

Aired 11/15/11 on KPBS News.

Holiday forecasts for hiring at retail stores in San Diego are slightly up, but polls say shoppers expect to spend less. Lower revenues could have a big impact on the state budget.

California lawmakers are facing the prospect of automatic budget cuts at the end of the year, if tax revenues don't meet certain targets. The state's comptroller says those revenues are currently running about $1.5 billion behind.

What Holiday Shopping Means For Local Jobs And The State Economy
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University of San Diego economist Alan Gin said there are some hopeful signs that the holiday shopping season will be better than last year. The jobless rate is also down.

"The fact that we have more people working this year compared to last, will provide a boost in terms of the sales tax revenue. The problem is though, that the budget probably projected that increase," said Gin.

It is possible deep cuts to public safety, social services, and education can be avoided, according to Gin. State budget cuts will be triggered if taxes are running a billion dollars below projections. A brisk holiday shopping season could change that because the entire shortfall doesn't need to be made up.

"I think it can, maybe not the whole thing, but enough to make a significant dent in that and get us to a point where we're close enough in terms of the budget being in balance," said Gin.

Many retailers rely on the Christmas shopping season to make up 25 percent to 40 percent of their yearly sales.

The holiday shopping season is also important for hiring. Competition for temporary holiday sales positions is likely to be fierce, given San Diego's continuing high unemployment.

Phil Blair, an executive at a staffing company, and Marney Cox, SANDAG's chief economist, join us on Midday and Evening Edition to discuss what the holidays will bring to San Diego's economy.

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