WEATHERING THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN: NEW REPORT PROVIDES CONTEXT & PERSPECTIVE

10th Annual Community Indicators report released today

(Irvine, CA): The 2009 Orange County Community Indicators report was presented to the Board of Supervisors today, marking the 10th anniversary of the report that tracks countywide trends in economy and business, technology, education, health, public safety, environment, and civic engagement. Examining historical strengths and weaknesses through these indicators helps to point the way forward. As seen through the 10-year trend data, Orange County recovered from the most recent economic slump in 2001, suggesting that Orange County will bounce back from today’s difficult economy as well.

“In these turbulent economic times, we need to focus on the fundamental, long-term attributes of a strong regional economy, like an educated workforce and housing opportunities,” said Michael M. Ruane, project director for the report and Executive Director of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County. “The report helps facilitate a thoughtful discussion on the critical issues that will shape the future of Orange County.”

Headline-grabbing statistics, such as median home price declines and increases in unemployment offer some measure of Orange County’s current economy, but they do not provide any visibility into Orange County’s future growth potential. The Orange County Community Indicators report fills this gap, and provides annual trend data and historical information on critical, long-term indicators of future economic growth.

For instance, the diversity of the technology industry and a skilled workforce play a significant role in Orange County’s economy. The trend data shows Orange County’s technology sector remains highly diversified and workforce indicators remain strong: more high school students are enrolling in math and science courses and more tech-related undergraduate degrees are granted each year.

A more in-depth review reveals opportunities to make positive strides in the health of the community. For example, one civic engagement indicator reveals Orange County residents take an active role in their communities, contributing to non-profit organizations and volunteering for community service. And yet, Orange County’s non-profit sector is struggling. Difficult economic times mean more families will need support, suggesting there are opportunities for non-profit organizations to increase their efficiencies, and outreach to corporations and individuals.

The Community Indicator Report is a collaborative project developed by the Children and Families Commission of Orange County, County of Orange, Orange County Business Council, La Jolla Institute and the Urban Land Institute and available on-line at Community Indicators

About the Children and Families Commission of Orange County

The Children and Families Commission of Orange County oversees the allocation of funds from Proposition 10 that add a 50-cent tax on tobacco products sold in California to fund education, health care and child development programs for children from the prenatal stage to age five and their families with the goal to ensure all children are healthy and ready to learn when they enter school. For more information, please visit www.occhildrenandfamilies.com.