The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

January 20, 2011
Johnson says Sacramento needs 'mojo;' it also needs lots of jobs

Mayor Kevin Johnson called today for Sacramento to return to its pioneering spirit to get back on track, to get its "mojo" back.

Without such risk-taking and entrepreneurship, it will take even longer to recover from the recession, he told some 900 people at his third State of the City speech.

"Things," Johnson said, "are grim."

How grim?

Earlier today, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released a report showing that Sacramento's economy is in worse shape than many other cities -- and that it faces an uphill battle.

The study by IHS Global Insight says that of the nation's 363 metro areas, Sacramento is one of 109 that will still have an unemployment rate of 10 percent or higher at the end of 2011 (a projected 11.9 percent to be precise). At the end of 2014, its jobless rate is expected to still be above 9 percent.

Sacramento is one of only 44 metro areas that will have no job growth or actual losses (a 0.2 percent loss) this year.

And it is one of 152 metro areas that will not return to its pre-recession peak number of jobs until after 2014. The study says that the Sacramento region has lost 103,500 jobs since the peak in the second quarter of 2007, and isn't projected to claw its way back until the second quarter of 2016.

That's nine years.

In his speech, Johnson said supporting the green technology sector and boosting the downtown core can help create jobs. He also said he would fight Gov. Jerry Brown on taking away redevelopment money that he said he will "cripple cities."

And Johnson announced that he had snagged his first national headquarters. Of course, he had an inside track.

His fiancee Michelle Rhee is founding StudentsFirst, a national advocacy organization designed as a counterweight to teacher unions. She plans to have 1 million members in the first year, and 10 million eventually. She plans to raise $1 billion within five years. And she'll work from the national office in Sacramento.

While other big-city mayors "came a-courting" to Rhee, he said to laughter, '"I'm not ashamed to say that I pulled out all the stops."

It's a start, but as the mayors' study shows, there's a long, long way to go..

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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