Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Economic Edge Goes LIVE on!

We have finally launched our brand new website!  A venture we have been working on and designing for many months.  Take a look and give us your feedback -- our goal is to make this a place for the best local news, as well as a place to engage and come up with solutions to the issues we cover.

From now on, you can find the Economic Edge Blog posts here, and we hope you will keep following us and contributing to our project!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Art in Storefronts

Last Friday, I attended the launch of a new effort to revitalize commercial corridors in San Francisco.  It's called "Arts in Storefronts", and it's the topic of my next piece.  The SF Arts Commission joined up with the Mayor's office, and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development to commission art installations to fill empty storefronts in the Central Market, Bayview, Tenderloin and Market neighborhoods.  The idea is to join the artists, property owners, and merchants with the goal of avoiding blight and bringing foot traffic to these areas that sorely need it, especially after the recent economic downturn.

I was impressed with the turnout at the launch.  At 5pm, the corner of Sixth and Market was transformed, a live latin band started to play, people in cocktail dresses and neat suits started dancing in the street, people passing by lingered to hear the music and look at the art...for a few hours, it seemed to overshadow the usual rushed and abandoned feeling of the place.

But even as speakers took to a mic set up right there in the middle of the sidewalk, several homeless men got uncomfortably close to disrupting the flow of the evening, a vendor even pushed her cart right through the middle of the crowd as one of the key speakers addressed the crowd.  I couldn't help but think that these two worlds were going to have some trouble coming together, and just maybe, that they might carry different hopes for this neighborhood.

For more info on the Arts in Storefronts project, click here, and to listen to my report, tune in to Crosscurrents at 5pm on Nov. 2nd.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

1 in 10 in SF Unemployed

Well, I guess this explains the crazy amount of people I see at cafes throughout the day, or lounging about in Dolores Park in the middle of the afternoon.

Seriously though, it is difficult to believe that the unemployment rate in San Francisco can be over 10%.  The Chronicle reports today that this is the highest percentage on record. Even harder to believe are the majority of economists who say "the recession is over."

Do you know anyone who is unemployed in the Bay Area? Are they young? College-educated?  Or coming out of retirement, a parent, or a grandparent?  We want to hear your stories about employment.  Write to us at, or give us a call at 415-264-7106.

Monday, September 28, 2009

More Signs of the Recession

(I took this photo of a billboard off of Cesar Chavez, one of the many "signs" of the recession that I keep coming across in my daily life)

So it seems that the recession is showing its face in our lives in more ways than we might have imagined.  This SF Examiner article features census data that says the recession is leading to delayed marriage, longer commutes, and fewer immigrant laborers...just a few of the many social impacts of the economic downturn.

How are YOU seeing the recession appear in your life in unusual ways?  Can you represent it in a photo? Yes? Great! Email it to us, and we will feature it on this blog.  Just send it to Econ Edge Project, with your permission to publish it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Featuring Oakland's Street Economy

For the past couple of weeks, Crosscurrents has been rolling out a special six-part series about the roots and solutions to violence in Oakland.  It is called the Oakland Fault Lines Project, and features a diverse array of perspectives from community leaders, drug dealers, activists, and young people, among others.

Today's installment happens to be related to the economic edge.  Reporter Sarah Gonzalez explores how disappearing formal economy jobs are replaced by the hustle of the street economy.  The conditions of this economy are harsh, competitive, and can quickly lead to crime and violence.  But in Oakland, where the unemployment rate is almost 16%, for many it is the best option.  Click here to listen.

(Photo taken by Reporter Sarah Gonzalez at Youth Alive in Oakland)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's Everywhere

Doesn't it feel like sometimes the ECONOMY and signs of the recession are all around you?

I know that I am just a little more sensitive to it, given my profession, but these days it seems like I'm hearing more stories of muggings and robberies, lay offs, and life changes, and then there are little reminders like this van I photographed above, or billboards that use economic catchphrases to market things like pantyhose.
If you come across a "sign of the recession," whatever that may mean to you, take a picture and send it to us, or give us a call at (415) 264-7106 to tell us about it.  You can also write us a description and send it to, with "Economic Edge" in the subject line.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"The Great Recession"

It seems that our Labor Day holiday yesterday was a chance for many of us to think of jobs, and how desperately we need some.  The California Budget Project released a new report yesterday that calls our current downturn "The Great Recession," finding that it stands apart from other downturns because of the breadth of its reach, especially when it comes to job loss.

If you look at today's headlines, you'd see that the media is reflecting exactly what the CPB has found.  All the stories are equally interesting, and one could say, equally depressing.  But better share in the despair, than suffer alone, right?  So I've included a list of the local economic stories that caught our eye today, mostly job-related.  Read on, but keep the tissue box handy.


1.3 million will lose unemployment benefits by the end of this year

California employment down to 2000 levels

Unemployment department still difficult to reach
- Phone number takes an average of 17 tries, and 2/3 of calls are rejected

Budget cuts mean shelters can euthanize animals sooner
- "The notion that your beloved pet could escape the yard and be put to death before you even have time to post flyers is a real possibility."

State government workers find themselves going to food banks

SF school volunteers program may be cut
- Budget cutbacks for next year may be even harsher than this year

Frugality is the new normal, even after recession ends

Backlash against banks growing as modifications are rejected