Western Economic Developments March 1997

March 1, 1997

Executive Summary

  • Recently revised payroll employment figures indicate that District nonagricultural payroll employment expanded by 3.4 percent in 1996, well ahead of the national pace.
  • The District currently contains five of the eight fastest growing states in the nation, including Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Oregon. The California and Washington economies are also growing at a brisk pace.
  • Rapid expansion in the construction, manufacturing, trade, and services sectors accounted for much of the employment growth during 1996. Manufacturing activity in the District is well above the national pace, largely due to strong growth in high-tech manufacturing and the resurgence of Boeing.
  • The California recovery accelerated in 1996, as the San Francisco Bay Area benefitted from robust growth in high-tech manufacturing and business and engineering-management services. The pace of growth in Los Angeles County continues to lag other areas of the state.
  • Fourth-quarter earnings at District banks were good, and overall asset quality is fairly healthy. However, loan performance is showing some deterioration in the consumer and real estate categories.