It was just a a semi-coincidence that as Gov. Jerry Brown was touting California on Thursday as an engine of economic growth, the California Manufacturers and Technology Association was declaring the state to be falling behind the rest of the country.
Both have data on their sides.
During an appearance before the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco -- mostly to campaign for passage of his tax measure, Proposition 30 -- Brown skewered the "declinists" who believe that California is faltering.
The state has its flaws, he said, but "California ... has made some fabulous decisions, and our collective will ... will not be slowed by the skeptics, the declinists and those fearful individuals who can't see where they are: the greatest place in the world."
The governor cited the creation of 300,000 jobs in recent years and the state's reputation as a technology leader.
However, the state still has one of the nation's highest unemployment rates, with nearly 2 million jobless workers. A few hours after Brown spoke, the association released a couple of charts in Sacramento, framing the negative side of the state's economic profile.
One, using data from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, pointed out that during the last decade, while the state;s population was growing by 7.67 percent, employment was up just 1.83 percent. Meanwhile, the nation's popualtion was growing by 9.34 percent and its employment by 6.24 percent.
The second chart, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, said that during the same decade, California's median income dropped by $8,341 a year in inflation-adjusted terms, while the country as a whole saw a $3,714 decline.
Gino DiCaro, the organization's vice president for communications, said its release wasn't sparked by Brown's remarks on Thursday, but by repeated utterances by the governor and his aides denying that the state has a poor business climate, citing recent job growth.
"We're getting slaughtered compared to the rest of the country," DiCaro said. His organization has been complaining loudly about a sharp decline in manufacturing employment in California, saying that the state's taxation and regulatory policies have discouraged job-creating investment.