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New Report Reveals Path to Revitalize California Industries and Middle-Class Employment

The Chapman Center for Demographics and Policy, in partnership with the New California Coalition, has published a report titled “Nurturing California Industries.” This report provides a detailed analysis of California’s current economic situation and presents a roadmap for promoting long-term sustainable growth. To delve deeper into the report’s findings, professor Marshall Toplansky from the Argyros School of Business and Economics and colleagues have also released a podcast episode discussing its key insights. 

The Golden State, known for its innovative spirit and economic prowess, is currently grappling with unprecedented challenges. Rising costs of living and a lack of diverse employment opportunities have led to an exodus of residents and companies, particularly affecting middle-class Californians. As the state faces the crisis, the report sheds light on viable strategies to reverse this trend while emphasizing the importance of environmental sustainability, social equity, and economic growth in California’s development. 

Unlike most states, California lacks an integrated economic development strategy and dedicated agency. The report advocates a triple bottom-line approach, prioritizing Californians’ well-being over a narrow “pro-business” agenda for long-term sustainability. It also pinpoints key industries vital to contributing to the supply chain, boosting the state’s global image, and shaping the future economy. These strategic industries include: 

Agricultural Technology: California’s leadership in Agri-Food Tech startups, with $5.6 billion in venture capital investments in 2020, positions the state as a critical player in meeting global food demand through technological innovation.

Aerospace, Space, and Missile Technology: Although not a statewide leader in this industry, specific regions like San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties have a significant concentration of workers and companies, making it strategically important for California.

Creative Industries: These industries contribute significantly to California’s economy, accounting for 14.9% of the state’s gross regional product and 7.6% of its jobs. The report highlights the need to retain creative talent in the state to ensure long-term competitiveness.

Computer Manufacturing and Services: While California has historically been a stronghold for the computing industry, recent developments, such as Intel’s move to build chip labs in Ohio, have raised concerns about the state’s position in this sector. The report calls for preserving California’s dominance in this critical industry.

Managed Health Care: With an aging population in California, the managed care industry is poised for growth. The report recognizes the importance of this sector in serving the healthcare needs of the state’s residents.

Individual, Senior, and Family Services: This sector plays a vital role in supporting the Managed Care Industry and addressing the needs of an aging population.

The report stresses tailored economic programs, a business-friendly regulatory atmosphere, and learning from successful models such as Singapore. Authors Heather Gonzalez, Sougata Poddar, and Marshall Toplansky urge California to act decisively for industry growth, middle-class revival and enduring economic stability. 


About Chapman University

Founded in 1861, Chapman University is a nationally ranked private university in Orange, California, about 30 miles south of Los Angeles. Chapman serves nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students, with a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Students can choose from 123 areas of study within 11 colleges for a personalized education. Chapman is categorized by the Carnegie Classification as an R2 “high research activity” institution. Students at Chapman learn directly from distinguished world-class faculty including Nobel Prize winners, MacArthur fellows, published authors and Academy Award winners.The campus has produced a Rhodes Scholar, been named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars and hosts a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society. Chapman also includes the Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus in Irvine. The university features the No. 4 film school and No. 60 business school in the U.S. Learn more about Chapman University:


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Carly Murphy

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