Welcome to the Sunrise Spirit –
the Weekly Newsletter of The Rotary Club of Arcata Sunrise
Our Next Meeting
You are welcome to join us at our next meeting on Friday, March 3rd, and you are more than welcome to attend our Spring Fundraiser on Saturday, March 11th – a grand dinner and auction inspired by the “Phantom of the Opera”!
RISE Calendar …
“Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone“
March 4 – AHS College & Career Center’s Annual Pancake Breakfast – 8 to 11 am at Arcata High School.
March 11 – The RCAS Spring Fundraiser! An elegant dinner with a “Phantom of the Opera” theme.
May 12-14 – The District 5130 Conference at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort in Incline Village, Nevada
Charter Night Recap: President Susan said that we all had a great time at our Club’s birthday party on February 18th. Thanks to Jessica McKnight and her committee for putting together a fun-tastic celebration of our Club’s 25 years of service!
An Election That Went As Expected? Susan announced the winner of the previous Friday’s election for our President-Elect Designee. In a surprising upset, Ray Noggle trounced the competition, and he will lead our merry band of Sunrisers for a year beginning July 1, 2018. Congratulations, Ray!!
Pancake Breakfast: It’s this Saturday from 8 to 11 am at Arcata High School’s Fine Arts Center. The breakfast is the fundraiser for the AHS College and Career Center, so please join us for a delicious and meaningful meal.
Spring Fundraiser: “It’s going really well,” President Susan said last Friday. Between groups and individuals, we have 30 tables sold! But please be sure to invite your friends, and keep up the chatter on social media.
Decorations Chair Karen Burgesser would like to have a few people join her on Wednesday, March 8th. She plans to assemble the centerpieces for all 40 tables, and put a few other things together. Please let her know if you can help out.
Now is the time to get your group’s Silent Auction/Dutch Raffle contributions to HealthSport! Please be sure to tag your items – the HealthSport crew has the forms available at the counter. The sooner you have your stuff there, the easier it will be for the committee to organize the items and create attractive signage.
Lisa Hemphill had a helpful suggestion for period costumes. The “Chic Boutique” in McKinleyville has a nice selection of dresses and gowns that would be suitable for the event.
The Judy and Bella Report
Our two Exchange Students – Inbound Judy from Taiwan and Outbound Bella from Arcata – both had updates last week. Bella said that Rotary is zeroing in on the destination for her Exchange Year. She knew that she was heading for Denmark, but now she knows that she will be living in Southern Denmark. The exact city/town is still TBA.
Judy (AKA Yi Ting Chen) told us about her first experience with Hot Yoga. She said that it lived up to the name – “It was over like 100 degrees!”
The two Exchangers worked together to create a bunch of baked goods, which they sold to help fund their participation in the Rotary Western Safari, which will take place shortly after the end of the current school year. [Editor’s Note: The goodies were delicious!]
Analyzing the Workforce In Humboldt County
Randy Weaver was our Featured Speaker last Friday. Randy was introduced by Sunriser Gregg Foster, who admitted to an error – he told Randy that he was looking forward to seeing him at our meeting on February 23rd. So Randy was at our meeting … 24 hours early!
Randy is a Labor Market Analyst for the state Employment Development Department (EDD), and he either knows or can find the answers to questions about employment issues in the area he covers – Humboldt, Del Norte, Mendocino, Siskiyou, and Trinity Counties – and beyond. He told us that he isn’t a “labor market savant”, despite Gregg’s introduction. “Really what I am, in many ways, is just a really effective researcher,” he said. He knows where to find information and he can put it together in ways that help others make sense of labor market conditions and trends.
Randy noted that many employers are experiencing difficulties finding qualified applicants for jobs. He showed a line graph of the labor force participation rate, pointing out that the rate peaked in the 1990s, and it has been steadily declining ever since. At the end of 2014, the rate was 51.9%. “The main thing driving this,” he said, “is Baby Boomer retirement.” (This drew applause from some recently retired Sunrisers.) “Nationally,” he continued, “three million Baby Boomers retire every day.”
As the Boomers exit the labor force quickly, the other end of the potential market – millennials – are in no apparent hurry to enter the working world. Randy explained, ” A lot of them graduated right into the worst economic recession in recent memory.” This led many to seek advanced degrees before entering the labor force, and others are living with their parents for longer than their predecessors did. He noted that there has been a strong uptick in the participation rate over the past three months. “We’re really not sure what’s driving that,” he admitted, “but the number is definitely starting to climb again.”
Randy also discussed the unemployment rate, noting that it peaked at the height of the recent recession, as you might expect. However, the rate is currently “at a historic low in the county”. He said that is having a major impact on local businesses trying to recruit employees. “We are in our seventh quarter of positive [economic] growth,” Randy said. This unprecedented upswing has led some economists to say that a recession, or correction, is inevitable.
Randy described the employment clusters as they stood at the end of 2016. The largest employment sector, at 29% of all workers, is Government. He explained that this includes federal, state, and local personnel, as well as those employed by publicly-funded schools, from elementary schools to College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State University.
The second largest group of employers is Trade, Transportation, and Utilities. This sector employs about 19% of workers, and it includes private utilities such as Pacific Gas and Electric and AT&T, as well as retail businesses and warehousing. Randy said that this sector has not grown much over the past decade.
The Educational and Health Services sector accounts for about 17% of our county’s workers. The education component described is limited to private and for-profit schools. The health services portion of this sector is much larger, and this area has experienced significant growth, and the demand outstrips the supply. Randy said that this is the result of Baby Boomers requiring more health care as they age.
The next largest employment sector is Leisure and Hospitality, “where a lot of our tourism comes into play,” Randy noted. This industry actually employs more individuals than the other sectors, but these jobs tend to pay lower wages, and many positions are seasonal and/or part time. Although career paths are scarce, this sector does provide entry-level opportunities.
Small businesses are vital to our community, Randy told us. Unlike most other counties in the state, there is no single company here that employs over 1,000 workers. Businesses that employ four or fewer employees make up 62% of all firms in Humboldt County. That statistic also hints at how important entrepreneurial activity is here.
Randy also discussed the impact of the cannabis industry. Since the sale of cannabis and derivative products is illegal under federal law, the industry economics are difficult to study directly. However, Randy provided figures from industries that are directly impacted by cannabis cultivation, which he sees as proxies. The three industries he listed – fertilizer manufacturing, lawn and garden equipment sales, and farm supplies – all showed huge increases in wages paid in the decade following the legalization of medical marijuana in California. He noted that “mainstream agriculture” declined slightly during this period, which lends credence to the idea that the increased activity in the three industries listed resulted from activity in the cannabis industry.
Randy encouraged us to contact him with any questions. Here is his contact information:
North Coast Labor Market Consultant
Employment Development Department