February 9, 2001
Future Is Now!
By Howard Hobbs Ph.D. President,
Valley Press Media Network
-- New knowledge-based industries, including computer technologies,
telecommunications, biotechnology; and professional services, have
sparked an expansive Central California economic miracle in the making,
e-commerce, trade and construction are surging.
Projected enrollment growth is at tidal-wave
proportions. If 1996 college-participation rates among Californians
continue, it is projected that total enrollments in 2005 will be 2,142,000,
or 98,000 (4.8 percent) above the peak enrollments experienced in
Eight out of every ten new jobs created in
California today are in information related industries. Sales data
analysis by the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy
reports California's strong performance in high-tech production
has set up a 75 percent increase in computer shipments, an 80% gain
in communication equipment shipments, and a 57 percent increase in
sales of electronic components.
With this combination of new and traditional
industry growth, California is now out pacing the national average
in job creation, new business incorporation, and exports.
Technology jobs, revenues, exports, and venture
capital have all surged to record levels in California, while other
sectors such as entertainment and tourism have demonstrated strong
growth and created tens of thousands of new jobs. These
trends are expected to continue throughout the coming decade and beyond.
As we enter the 21st Century, Central California's economy possesses
new characteristics that point to a promising future with substantial
Significant elements include a transition
from traditional goods-producing industries to information-based
products, a shift from large defense oriented companies to smaller,
commercial oriented firms with an emphasis on new technologies, a
heightened awareness of world markets, an increase in international
trade and export industries, and the emergence of an ethnically diverse
state with growing populations from Latin America, East Asia, and
the Middle East.
As the Central Valley' UC Campus approaches
final completion in Merced, it becomes an excellent new economy model
for and closely linked to a regional economy that will be a model
21st Century knowledge and information-based economy.
The region's high productivity and technological
innovation have made it the world's most competitive economy and position
the region for continued growth.
Closely tied to this investment in training,
intensive specialization, and innovative management in corporate organizations,
the new business model will serve as an incubator for rates of high
productivity and value added per worker, which result in high wages
for the Central Valley workforce.
The ethnic diversity of the Central
Valley workforce is a characteristic representative of a 21st Century
economy for the greater Clovis region, with an increased interest
in world markets.
A key factor in attracting this highly valued,
diverse workforce to the greater Clovis region is the quality of life.
While most Americans place a high value on quality of life, this is
particularly true among knowledge workers in California. According
to occupational research reports on quality-of-life indicators.
The proposed Clovis General Plan focussing
on the region's major research university ended up going to Merced.
However, the UC Merced high-tech and high value-added
regional influence will bring to the Central Valley and especially
to Clovis, a truly impressive derivative information effect.
That information based economy provides several essential elements
that contribute to the further expansion of the greater Clovis region.
Proximity to the major research university
is at the core of the Clovis miracle, from which flow knowledge, education,
innovation, research, and patents. The University of California
campus will augment the supply of a highly trained workforce with
hands-on experience and leadership in scientific and engineering research.
University of California's contributions
to the knowledge and information-based economy are monumental. Last
year, the University of California Annual Financial Report
stated that patented inventions by UC generate approximately
$63 million in royalties annually. More than any other university
in the world, UC's Biotechnology Program reports that one in
three U.S. biotech companies is located within 35 miles of the campus,
six of the ten best-selling biotech drugs stem from UC research,
and one in five California biotech companies was founded by UC
researchers. The clustering of biotech firms around UC
campuses is indicative of the attraction businesses and capital have
to higher education.
The greater Clovis region needs high quality
legal services that the, highly rated UC law and business schools
offer. These services complement high-tech and biotech activities,
and provide the high-quality business services essential to a 21st
The San Joaquin Valley has maintained its
strength as an agricultural-based economy while experiencing the transition
to the new economy. The backbone of this economy continues to be in
agriculture and related industries, such as food-processing and transportation.
Global and national trends are now impacting the San Joaquin Valley,
as urban growth pressures spill over into this largely rural landscape
of the greater Clovis region.
Dramatic large scale increases in the region;s
population in recent times has largely been absorbed in the Clovis
community, with the region's population ranking among the ten highest
states in the nation in population growth between 1980 and 1990.
The San Joaquin Valley is now California's
third largest region with more than 4 million residents. The region
is projected to be California's fastest growing area over the next
decade, and the California Department of Finance projects its
population to double by 2020 and triple by 2040.
short the greater Clovis region is projected to grow faster than both
the state and the nation, with foreign immigration and instate migration,
particularly from the Los Angeles Basin, expected to be key
sources of this growth.
With these increases in population, demographic
and economic changes are certain. Clovis will mirror and perhaps even
magnify California's demographic changes as the population grows more
The tremendous population growth experienced
in the San Joaquin Valley has also demonstrated the need for economic
development and employment opportunities in the region. Average unemployment
rates in Clovis have been consistently well above those for the state.
The economic structure of the greater Clovis
area is tied to the expansion of commercial uses of information technology,
digital news and e-book publishing, and less to agriculture, manufacturing,
services, government, or the building industry. It has attracted a
world-class infrastructure and services, with knowledgeable public
officials and an atmosphere that fosters innovation in the new economy.
There are more than 525,000 people living
in the greater Clovis area. The population of the trade area is 1.3
million. The average age is 27 years old.
The greater Clovis share of total wage and
salary jobs is almost four times greater than in the state as a whole,
as leading growth industries in electronics, computer integrated
systems, digital publishing, and computer related occupations in systems
analyses programming, software engineering, data communications, and
networks with 100 or more employees build operations in and around
the "business friendly" Clovis, California region of the
Great Central San Joaquin Valley.
Clovis values its vibrant business community
and recognizes the contribution that businesses, from small retailers
to billion-dollar corporations, make its character and economic vitality.
The City of Clovis offers high quality services. It
boasts nationally acclaimed proximity to a critical core of high-tech
businesses and services. It is nationally recognized as a leader in
cutting-edge technology and home to Web Portal Corporation microsystems,
The Clovis Free Press, the Clovis Schools, an excellent
public school system. It has proximity to the Yosemite International
airport, and excellent mean household income and other demographics
At present, manufacturing's share of total
wage and salary jobs in the Central San Joaquin Valley is generally
about two-thirds its share in the state. The higher job share
for the state reflects the concentration of manufacturing in California's
coastal urban areas. That was a development accelerated greatly during
and after WWII.
The balance is now shifting to the greater
Clovis region. The prime feature of the Clovis greater
area's economic transformation has been the growth of services jobs.
Services jobs tend to predominate in urbanized areas because of greater
intensity of business activity as well as higher population density.
For example, major medical facilities (health
services) tend to be concentrated in major metropolitan areas. This
is also true for business services such as computer services and temporary
Economies of scale are also one of the factors
in this concentration of services jobs in urban areas. For example,
agencies that provide contract computer programmers are more viable
in larger markets with bigger customer bases and substantial skilled
Currently, local City, County, special districts,
and federal government's share of total wage and salary jobs has been
considerably higher in the the greater Clovis area than for the state
as a whole. This has been explained by government officials as a "stabilizing
force" in the region.
The long-term impact of the overriding presence
of government payrolls, and the self-perpetuating actions of local
government officials had once stifled the growth of innovation and
free enterprise in the greater Clovis area economy.
However, over the last decade, the relationship
of government and private sector entrepreneurs in California
has continued to evolve as private enterprise increasingly focused
on the productivity innovations and as local government increasingly
became dependent upon private sector high-tech characterized by high
output-per-employee hour worked.
The future is now. The place is here.
[Editor's Note: Economic, university enrollment projections
& demographic data presented in this report were researched by economists
from Valley Press Media Network in Clovis & the State of Calif.
Projections are derived from the Clovis
Regional Economic-Demographic Forecasting & Policy Analyses,of
the Clovis Free Press, and the
Legislative Analyst's Report, of the Great Valley Center in Modesto,
Calif. Secondary sources relied upon were, The Economic Report of the
Governor 1989-2000, and the Fresno County Fact Book 1989-2000, and
the City of Clovis General Plan and the City of
Clovis Business Retention, Expansion, And Attraction Program Report, and
the City of Clovis Target Industry Study, Jan. 1998 published by the
City of Clovis Community & Economic Development Dept.,and the 1999
Merced Foothill Region
Environment and Land Use (GIS) Study of the UC Center for Environmental
to the Editor