San Jose, Calif. - June 9, 2020

Bridge Bank,  presenting sponsor of the annual San José State University Economic Summit, held Wednesday, May 27, brought keynote speaker, Dr. Christopher Thornberg, into people’s homes for the first time ever. The event, now in its tenth year, is held on the campus of San José State University and widely known for drawing local business leaders from around Silicon Valley and The Bay Area. Due to local shelter-in-place restrictions, related to COVID-19, this year’s event was moved to an online virtual format, bringing in three times the amount of last year’s attendees.

“80% of those who are unemployed claim

they are temporarily laid-off. We’ve

never seen anything like this before.”

During this year’s late-morning event, Dr. Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics, told the audience of 1,100 in an opening statement, “There is no doubt, this is the biggest shock to hit our economy in the last 10 years.” He explained that in traditional economic downturns, job losses are a lagging indicator, due to the result of a big, negative shock to our economic system. This time around, the labor numbers we’re seeing are not a lagging indicator, but rather the opposite. They are the shock to the system.

Dr. Thornberg added, “80% of those who are unemployed claim they are temporarily laid-off. We’ve never seen anything like this before.” He went on to predict that as soon as health orders are relaxed, those who are unemployed will return to work and economic conditions will greatly improve and perhaps be better than they were before the disruption. He does not buy-in to the belief that there will be a “new normal” and believes people will not be afraid to dine at restaurants or travel on airplanes.

Joined by Dr. Thornberg this year was Kim Walesh, Director of Economic Development and Deputy City Manager of the City of San José. Walesh did not debate Dr. Thornberg. Instead, she provided insight into the city of San José’s emergency response to COVID-19. She also discussed the economic and fiscal challenges that lie ahead, as well as a strategy for economic recovery.

If you missed this year’s Economic Summit, or would like to watch it again, you can watch it here.

The 10th Edition of the Santa Clara County Regional Intelligence Report was released in conjunction with the event. Key findings in the report include:

  • 2019 was another strong year for California's economy which grew 1.8% (0.3% higher than the year before)
  • The unemployment rate in the South Bay fell 0.3% from the previous year to 2.5%, far lower than California's unemployment rate of 3.9%
  • Average annual wages across the South Bay declined 0.6% to an average of $129,500
  • Venture Capital saw another record-breaking year with $11.9 billion raised (an increase of $1.5 billion in 2018)

For more information about the key findings mentioned above, or to learn more about how COVID-19 might shift the economic outlook, download your complimentary copy of the 10th Edition Santa Clara County Regional Intelligence Report.

About Us

Bridge Bank, a division of Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC, helps business clients realize their ambitions. Founded in 2001 in Silicon Valley, Bridge Bank offers a better way to bank for small-market and middle-market businesses across many industries, as well as emerging technology companies and the private equity community. Geared to serving both venture-backed and non-venture-backed companies, Bridge Bank delivers a broad scope of financial solutions including capital, equipment and working capital credit facilities, venture debt, treasury management, asset-based lending, SBA and commercial real estate loans, ESOP finance and a full line of international products and services. Based in San Jose, Bridge Bank has 16 offices in major markets across the country along with Western Alliance Bank’s powerful array of specialized financial services. Western Alliance Bank is the primary subsidiary of Phoenix-based Western Alliance Bancorporation. One of the country’s top-performing banking companies, Western Alliance has ranked in the top 10 on the Forbes “Best Banks in America” list for five consecutive years, 2016-2020, and was named #1 best-performing of the 50 largest public U.S. banks for 2019 by S&P Global Market Intelligence.