March 28, 2015 18:48 UTC

As It Is

California Helps Lead Economic Recovery

California's farming industry helps feed the nation.
California's farming industry helps feed the nation.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
 

Hello again, and welcome.  I’m Jim Tedder in Washington.  Today’s As It Is program is different.  Usually we take you around the world to hear about interesting people, places, and things.  But today we are staying closer to home.  You could call it an “all American” show.  First we will talk about money, jobs, and the economy.  It seems that one western state has been doing a bit better than others.  We will hear why California is the place to be.
 
Then, we will make stop in Houston, Texas, to hear about some young people who have been chosen to help the city grow and prosper.  And near the end of the program, some silliness, and just a touch of classic rock and roll music.  As It Is …helping you to learn English by way of your radio and computer.
 
The American economy is slowly improving from the recession of 2008 and 2009. Industries like construction and building repair are doing well. Unemployment, however, remains high throughout the United States. From state to state, the economic recovery appears uneven. But California is growing at a rate above the national average.
 
Rosalie Andersen is a real estate agent. Her job is to help people buy and sell homes. Today, she is attempting to sell a white house made of stucco in a quiet Los Angeles neighborhood. She hopes this house will sell for more than a million dollars. She says the housing market is getting better.  
 
“It’s kind of puzzling. We talk in the office, and we’re just wondering:  Where are these people getting all this cash from? But I think what a lot of people are doing is that they’re finally realizing that your best investment for money is a home.”
 
Last year, the California economy grew at rate of three-point-five percent. That is a full percentage point above the national average. But the growth rate differs from place to place.
 
Robert Kleinhenz is an economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. He says California’s ports are busier than other ports.
 
“We’re still well below the pre-recession peak levels of port activity that we had seen in 2007. We’ve seen some slight gains with each passing year. But there still is a ways to go.”
 
In downtown Los Angeles, the Chinese immigrant owner of a small business says he is doing well. His store sells t-shirts and slippers -- footwear normally worn around the house. Nearby, Henry Wong sells low-cost decorations and cloth imported from China. Mr. Wong says the cost to operate his business is low. When the economy is not good, he says, he and his employees work harder. Currently, Mr. Wong is doing well. He has six workers in his store, and more working in a building where the goods are stored.
                                                                          
 
High-technology companies are helping the American economy. But even in Silicon Valley, California’s high-technology center, the situation is mixed. Cisco Systems has reported good sales, but is cutting 4,000 jobs. The company says it is reacting to a changing market. Banking and professional services are doing well. The recreation and hospitality industry is expanding, adding jobs to hotels and visitor services.
 
California’s $44 billion farming industry helps feed the nation and is growing. The state’s unemployment rate is 8.7 percent, down from over 12 percent three years ago. The national unemployment rate is 7.4 and improving. But Mr. Kleinhenz says the numbers are not what they should be. 

“The unemployment rate has been coming down. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has been growing. The problem is, they continue to tell us that the economy is growing at a slower pace than we would really like to see.”
 
 
Houston Looks for Young Leaders
 
 
The Greater Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation recently held a graduation ceremony for 34 young adults who completed its Emerging Leaders Institute. The program’s purpose is to increase their skills -- and their confidence that they can help the future of this busy city in the state of Texas.  Christopher Cruise tells us more.
 
Participants in the program are students, or those who recently completed their studies at a university in the Houston area. 
Most graduates of the Houston Emerging Leaders Institute are Hispanic, but others also take part. Huyen Do is a good example.  She says she is ready to be a leader.
 
The program includes business leaders and civil engineers, biologists, bankers and politicians.  Laura Murillo leads the Greater Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation.  She says the program is aimed at helping make progress in a city that is changing both ethnically and economically.

Shipping industry employs many people in Houston.Shipping industry employs many people in Houston.
x
Shipping industry employs many people in Houston.
Shipping industry employs many people in Houston.

 
"Houston is diverse, in terms of the people who are here, and it is diverse in terms of the careers that are available. So we want to get and identify all those great people out there, put them in this program and prepare them to lead Houston."

 
Program members like Mercedes Sanchez said they learned from working with others in the class of 2013. 
 
"I think that one of the many benefits of having such a diverse group is that you really get to learn from each other, and it enriches the experience that you have."
 
Participant Jo Anna Castilleja works for Shell Oil. She said she needed guidance about the business world because she was the first in her family to complete college.
 
"My parents came from elementary and secondary education, and I needed to ask for help from someone who had that kind of (college) experience."
 
Sonia Gonzalez was one of Miz Castilleja's guides, or mentors.  Miz Gonzalez said the training has produced better workers and citizens.  She noted that the program combined Miz Castilleja's work experience with a wider understanding of what is happening in the city.  And, she said that made her a more valuable employee.
 
 
Although the students have graduated from the program, they may return one day as a mentor to a new young participant.  I’m Christopher Cruise.
 
And I’m Jim Tedder in Washington.  Thank you for spending some time with us on this Thursday, October 9th.   Today is International Top Spinning Day, a day to spin your small wooden toy, and then email the Spinning Top and Yo Yo Museum in Burlington, Wisconsin, to tell them you participated!
 
Today is also the National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day.  After all, the poor little fellow rarely gets out of the house anymore.
 
And American singer and songwriter Jackson Browne is celebrating his 63rd birthday today. 
 
There are more Learning English programs coming your way, and world news at the beginning of every hour on VOA.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Poshih Chiu from: Taiwan, R.O.C.
10/12/2013 1:58 PM
Los Angeles in California is an enjoyable city. Its sunny weather has attracted many people both domestic and foreign to the western port city. There are diverse ethnic groups, which have formed different ethnic communities. A lot of people with different nationalities have been living in this city, and they are the assets and always providing a competitive edge for the city. Its economy might have a little trouble once in a while, but it would always return to a normal development. The City of Flowers and Sunshine is always having a promising future. Believe it or not!


by: Antonio Carlos Zambon from: Campinas-sao paulo-Brazil
10/10/2013 4:52 PM
Congratulations,the best way ,to learn english,thanks VOA


by: BIJU.P.Y. from: SOUTH INDIA
10/10/2013 3:49 PM
It is a lucky sign that America is slowly recovering from her past economic falls. California leads the way is all the more exciting. But it is unfair that the economic situations in many cities stand uneven. Thank you.

Learn with The News

  • A Houthi Shiite fighter stands guard as people search for survivors under the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes near Sanaa Airport, Yemen, Thursday, March 26, 2015

    Audio Saudi-led Airstrikes in Yemen Aim to Stop Rebels

    Yemen Foreign Minister Riyadh Yasin said the Houthi rebels should weaken after two days of air strikes from a coalition of Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia. The coalition of 10 countries, including five Gulf kingdoms, is trying to bring Yemen’s internationally recognized government back to power. More

  • Audio Cambodia Supports China's Position on South China Sea

    Cambodia’s prime minister said the dispute between China and other nations in the South China Sea area cannot be solved through ASEAN. Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday that the issue should be solved by the countries directly affected by the disputes. More

  • Video Paraguayan Children Make Music with Trash

    Last week, musicians from around the world gathered in Texas for the South by Southwest film and music festival. Perhaps the most unusual performers at the event were a group of teenagers from Paraguay. Their musical instruments were made of trash – objects that had been thrown away. More

  • Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin (C) with Gen. David Galtier (R) holds a press conference in Marseille, southern France, March 26, 2015.

    Audio Prosecutor: Germanwings Co-Pilot Hid Illness

    France says it appears a Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz purposely caused the deadly crash in the French Alps Tuesday. He was alone in the cockpit when he flew the plane into the ground. Also in the news, Saudi-led airstrikes continue in Yemen; Uganda warns of possible al-Shabab attacks. More

  • Video NASA to Study Astronaut on Yearlong Mission in Space

    US astronaut Scott Kelly is scheduled to go to the International Space Station for a second time. Scientists hope the yearlong mission will provide important information about the physical and mental effects of living in space for a long period and pave the way for a future piloted flight to Mars. More

Featured Stories

  • Video Angelina Jolie Has Second Surgery to Prevent Cancer

    The 39-year-old actress published a piece in The New York Times about her decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to protect herself from cancer. She had a double mastectomy two years ago for the same reason. The latest surgery leaves the mother of six unable to have more children. More

  • Space Rocket to Launch Weather Satellite Into Deep Space

    Video Satellite Will Watch Sun Storms, Send Warnings to Earth

    Strong storms on the sun can cause problems for satellites, radio communications and even airplane travel. A satellite is now traveling 1.5 million kilometers to enter the sun’s orbit, just in time to observe the extreme weather on the sun at its most violent time the sun’s 11-year cycle. More

  • An employee plays the game Flappy Bird at a smartphone store in Hanoi, Feb. 10, 2014.

    Audio Too Much Gaming is a Pain in the Neck

    Smartphones and other electronic devices, or gadgets, are becoming more affordable. Children in India are using them more and more. Doctors say children who spend long hours playing video games are increasingly showing signs of physical deformities, meaning their bodies are not growing properly. More

  • Video Secrets of a Saddle-Maker

    People began riding horses thousands of years ago. Saddles for horseback riding were invented soon after. Today, many companies manufacture saddles. But it is rare to find someone who designs and makes these products by hand. American Keith Valley is one of the few. More

  • Video Graphene: The Material of the 21st Century

    Graphene is a type of graphite mineral. Experts often call it 'The Material of the 21st Century' because of its special properties. Some U.S. companies are already using graphene for new technology products. Graphene is often described as a one-atom-thick layer of carbon. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs