FAIRFIELD — “The Global and Local Economy in 2015 and Beyond” was the topic of the keynote presentation at Impact Solano on Nov. 21.
Robert Eyler, Ph.D., economics professor and director of the Center for Regional Economic Analysis at Sonoma State University, will provide a macro view of economic issues around the globe, in California and Solano County, at the close of 2014. He also offered his personal perspectives on things to watch in the year ahead.
Beginning with a worldwide recap of 2014, Dr. Eyler commented on the pace of Chinese, European and Japanese economies and how they could impact the U.S. and international trade. The status of financial markets and potential actions of the Federal Reserve will also be discussed.
Given a list of global concerns, combined with the continuing California drought, Dr. Eyler also addressed how these factors may affect real estate markets here at home.
“We live in an international community where the actions of one nation can ripple around the world in a matter of seconds influencing changes in investment strategies, net exports, consumption patterns and government spending,” Dr. Eyler said.
He provided an overview of how these economic drivers affected U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) growth — in terms of 2005 dollars — from 2007 to the present.
The past 24-year history of residential and nonresidential investment in the U.S. — from the first quarter of 1990 through the third quarter of this year — will be reviewed, as both categories continue to move into positive territory.
“The increase in excess reserves at U.S. depository institutions, representing loanable funds not lent, has risen steadily since 2008 to an all-time high,” Dr. Eyler said. “While this has contributed to holding inflation in check, it has not made funds available to those seeking loans that can help fuel the economy and stimulate growth.”
Putting his observations into context, Dr. Eyler provided an interpretation of how these conditions affect the continuing momentum of the American economy heading into 2015, along with concerns over inflation and job growth.
He also commented on how European economic conditions could place a damper on domestic interest rate hikes, at a time when the American economy still has years to expand.
Closer to home, Dr. Eyler focused on California’s growth potential and regional differences between coastal areas and valleys.
His presentation touched on how Bay Area economic activity has influenced state-level tax revenues, along with the possibility of structural changes, the potential impact of a stock market correction, as well as how current and expected changes in the tax environment could alter business dynamics.
A review of Solano County in 2014 also was included, with emphasis on job gains and losses by industry sectors. There was an assessment of the county’s GDP and unemployment rate, followed by a comparison of GDP sectors such as government, farms and construction from 2002 through 2013.
The housing market and home prices in Solano are part of Dr. Eyler’s regional review, as well as housing price growth from 2012 to 2014.
Turning to the social side, Dr. Eyler discussed “living wage” movements as a result of recent election decisions in Oakland and San Francisco. He also addressed opportunity costs of growth, such as traffic, homelessness, underemployment, long-duration unemployment, plus land-use constraints on growth.
“The takeaway from this presentation will include things to watch in 2015 that could impact our economic foundations,” he said. “Things like global growth and geopolitics, interest rates, the supply side of our economy, drought issues and support for local farmers, as well as long-term attempts to fix short-term issues.”
Insights from Solano companies
Executives from three Solano County enterprises will be panelists at the Nov. 21 Impact Solano conference, which will focus on the State of the Solano Business Climate.
Business leaders from HM.Clause, Guala Closures North America and Mare Island Dry Dock will join Robert Eyler, Ph.D., economics professor and director of the Center for Regional Economic Analysis at Sonoma State University. He will provide an outlook for the global and local economy in 2015.
“Solano County has a growing mix of agriculture, wine, high-tech, research and manufacturing firms that collectively add to the rich texture of our economic community,” said Sandy Person, executive director of the Solano Economic Development Corporation (EDC). “These firms are often part of a larger supply chain essential to the overall success of key local, national or international industries.”
She said the three companies to be highlighted at Impact Solano are examples of the wide breadth of firms included in the county’s expanding industry cluster that is putting Solano County on the map.
Located at 260 Cousteau Pl. in Davis, HM.Clause specializes in the breeding, production and commercialization of vegetable seeds varieties for professional growers.
With over 2,000 varieties in more than 23 vegetable crop species, HM.Clause provides innovative solutions to growers worldwide. The company has about 1,600 employees in more than 30 countries.
The firm’s varieties are available in more than 100 countries through 16 commercial subsidiaries and local sales networks.
As one of the world’s top four seed producers, the HM.Clause hub office for the Americas is based in the heart of Solano County’s agricultural region close to hundreds of farmers that use its products.
The company also has a research facility in Solano County staffed by 26 percent of the workforce. Fifteen percent of annual sales are invested in research at two main laboratories in France and California, along with 12 varietal breeding centers in eight nations — including three in the U.S. (California, Florida and Wisconsin).
Tamiko Michelle Gains, director of institutional relations and development for HM.Clause, will provide an overview of the company, describe its operations and talk about future plans at Impact Solano.
HM.Clause, Inc., is a business unit of Groupe Limagrain, an international cooperative headquartered in France. It markets its seeds under two brand names, Harris Moran Seed Company, headquartered in California, and CLAUSE Vegetable Seeds, headquartered in France.
Guala Closures North America
Guala is a multinational manufacturer of custom closures (screw caps and non-refillable closures) for firms in the wine, spirits, water, beer and olive oil industry sectors. The company established its presence in the U.S. with a new facility in Fairfield initially dedicated to small production runs.
The world headquarters is located north of Milan, Italy. However, Guala produces 14 billion closures a year at 16 plants around the globe.
“We saw an opportunity to produce screw caps for the wine industry in California and decided to invest in a manufacturing facility that is now up and running in Solano County,” Mr. Boochio said. “As part of our entry strategy, we developed new technology to serve the job-lot market and invite clients to work with professionals at our Guala Closure Design Studio to develop branded closures for small production runs нн- as few as a single box — often used for special promotions, weddings, anniversaries, company milestones or other events.”
He said over the next two to three years the company plans to expand operations at Fairfield and gear up for large-scale manufacturing.
Mare Island Dry Dock
Mare Island Dry Dock, LLC, is a privately held firm with more than three decades of experience in the maritime industry along the East Coast. It is now based at 1180 Nimitz Ave. in Vallejo with 86 employees.
Executive Vice President Christine Snyder is set to talk about how Mare Island Dry Dock is able to handle ships of all types, including cruise ships, coastal tankers, barges, commercial freighters, ferries, Military Sea Lift Command, Coast Guard and U.S. Navy vessels.
The company’s 18-acre site has berth space up to 1,300 linear feet, and two concrete gravity dry docks (680 and 720 feet long) that can handle ships under fully loaded conditions.
“We’re no longer in the moth-ball fleet dismantling business and now provide a wide range of services for active carriers,” said Ms. Snyder.
Services include essential ship repair and conversion, turbine overhaul and welding, vessel berthing, reduction gear repairs, structural steel renewal as well as steel and aluminum fabrication and emergency ship services.
The conference was held 7:30-10 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield. It was presented by North Bay Business Journal in cooperation with co-hosts Travis Credit Union and the Solano County Economic Development Corporation with underwriting from North Bay Healthcare.