Back in the day when the world had a few more contours to work with, I would love to crank out a dozen or so predictions for the coming year. Every so often I was even right on a few things. But I'm done with predictions. Leave them for the fools and/or egotists. I suspect that this will be a good year for the economy, although a lot will depend on the willingness of business owners and consumers to forget about incompetent lawmakers (local, state, and national) and just carry on. After five years of indecision, it's time. Most especially, it's time to decouple the affairs of government and commerce. Despite what you might be hearing, not everything in life has to be connected. Last month the Dow was down only slightly - despite the sky-is-falling scenarios laid out by mostly clueless commentators (fiscal cliff media coverage was, in large part, deliberately hysterical). Turn off cable news and take a breath - the truth is most folks in this country have jobs and lead a fairly comfortable existence that will be getting even more comfortable as the recovery takes hold. I mean, does anyone need to be reminded that Apple sold more than 50 million iPads last year? From this week's Business Update on KPCC:
Mark Lacter: The housing market, in particular, should be back on track in Southern California, with an increase in sales and, more importantly, an increase in the number of homeowners willing to put their property on the market. In the last few months of 2012, there were plenty of buyers but not enough sellers. Car sales should also be strong - following up on what was a really good 2012. Part of that is due to pent-up demand, what with folks finally making car purchases after holding back the last few years.
Steve Julian: What about jobs?
Lacter: Well, so much depends on the overall U.S. economy. But California outpaced the nation as a whole in job growth, with the November unemployment rate falling below 10 percent for the first time in almost four years, and L.A. County's jobless rate not far behind. It was a faster drop than economists had expected, though the improvement was uneven. Hiring was strongest in the Bay Area and tended to focus on - what else - technology jobs, but there was some movement in places like the Inland Empire. Still, lots of long-term unemployed, which is a huge problem.